Gitano Hernando(foreground).

Gitano Hernando(foreground).

Benoit Photography

Gitano Hernando Being Readied for World Cup

Five-year-old horse finished sixth as favorite in 2010.

Gitano Hernando, who finished sixth as the favorite in the 2010 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) n the United Arab Emirates, has arrived in Dubai from England to be prepared for the 2011 renewal of the 1 1/4–mile race at Meydan race course.

According to a release from Team Valor International, which owns the 5-year-old son of Hernando in partnership with Gary Barber, British-based trainer Marco Botti has outlined a schedule of three races for Gitano Hernando in Dubai. He has also secured the services of Hong Kong-based jockey Weichong Marwing to ride the horse.

“We wanted a top-class international rider that we had faith in and with whom we had enjoyed some good fortune in the past,” Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin said. “Weichong has always been a favorite of the stable, and he has enjoyed considerable success for us in Hong Kong, Dubai, and South Africa. When we put Weichong up, we do so with a feeling of confidence.”

Gitano Hernando will prep for the March 26 World Cup by first competing in two legs of the Maktoum Challenge that are part of Dubai’s Racing Carnival.

Irwin said the 2011 World Cup schedule for the horse differed from this year, when Gitano Hernando did most of his prep work in England before shipping to Dubai.

“We had experienced some difficulties with the air pollution the year before when construction of the new track became a problem for one of our horses that developed a respiratory problem, which is why we kept Gitano Hernando in England,” said Irwin. “Well, we zigged when we should have zagged, because it was evident by the performances that the horses trained and raced in Dubai had an edge over the invaders. So next year we will train and race in Dubai during the entire Carnival.”