Kinsale King won the 2010 Golden Shaheen.

Kinsale King won the 2010 Golden Shaheen.

Andrew Watkins

Kinsale King Shows New Attitude in Dubai

6-year-old back to defend title in Dubai Golden Shaheen

Last year, trainer Carl O’Callaghan referred to his Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) winner Kinsale King as a “senior citizen” who was genteel and easy going.

Back in Dubai to defend his title in the $2-million sprint race on March 26, Kinsale King showed on his first return visit to the Meydan track that he has a new attitude. He bucked and jumped several times under O’Callaghan as he took a leisurely lap around on March 19.

“He’s bucking and playing, acting like a 2-year-old,” O’Callaghan said of the 6-year-old son of Yankee Victor owned by Dr. Patrick Sheehy.

“He’s doing really good. He shipped in really well, a lot better than he did last year,” added the Irish-born trainer who previously worked as an assistant to Todd Pletcher. “He’s eating up good and I’m in a happy spot right now.”

O’Callaghan also took Kinsale King to the Meydan starting gate and the gelding stood quietly for several minutes, which he has learned to do after regular gate schooling sessions in California that have included some peppermint incentives, the trainer said.

While Kinsale King is likely to have only seven rivals in this year’s Golden Shaheen, O’Callaghan said the race will not be easy, mentioning the Bob Baffert-trained Euroears and last year’s Golden Shaheen runner-up and recently crowned Singapore Horse of the Year Rocket Man as the prime dangers.

O’Callaghan plans only light exercise for Kinsale King before the race, but a little bit more for himself. Kinsale King will walk on March 20, then jog the following day, and then walk again.

Meanwhile, the trainer said he will climb aboard another California-based speedster, Mr Gruff, who is pointed to the $1-million Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-II) on turf, and take the seven-year-old son of Mr. Greeley “for a spin” on March 20 at the request of trainer Ron Ellis.