Edited Dubai Racing Club report
As a steady rain fell on Nad Al Sheba on Thursday morning, March 26, Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) favorite Albertus Maximus continued to display bold eagerness, pulling on exercise rider Rob Massey as he galloped strongly around the track under the watchful eyes of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
“That was good,” McLaughlin told Massey as he returned to the gap with the 5-year-old son of Albert the Great.
“Keen, but good,” said Massey, who has had his hands full this week trying to keep Albertus Maximus from doing too much in his morning exercise.
“You only have to hold on to him for one more day,” noted assistant trainer Trish McLaughlin.
The McLaughlin camp has tried to hone Albertus Maximus so he can be at his sharpest in his first try at 2,000 meters (about ten furlongs or 1 ¼ miles) in the Dubai World Cup. A big horse standing nearly 17 hands, Albertus Maximus has given every indication that he is ready for a big effort.
Whether he can handle the distance remains the major question Albertus Maximus must answer. When asked about that issue during “Breakfast With the Stars,” McLaughlin joked that he was going to ask the owner, Sheikh Hamdan, if he could exert any influence to change the distance of the race to 1,800 meters.
“No, I’m not worried about the distance,” McLaughlin said after laughing. “He’s working very well and we think he’ll get the ten furlongs.”
McLaughlin also said he hopes to keep Albertus Maximus in peak condition throughout this year and into 2010 so that he can return to run in the inaugural Dubai World Cup at Meydan.
Fellow American raider Arson Squad was the first on the track on Thursday morning, galloping once around at a leisurely pace under assistant trainer Michelle Nevin.
Kazuo Fujisawa, trainer of Casino Drive, was at Nad Al Sheba this morning to watch his 4-year-old colt.
He commented: “When I saw him this morning, I thought the horse was in a good shape and he has kept his good condition. I think he has settled well in his new environment.”
According to the racing manager, Nobutaka Tada, Casino Drive was supposed to work with Vodka and led her this morning, but the concern about the condition of the main track after the overnight rain decided them to give him only a jog on the training track
Joe Bravo is excited about his second trip to Dubai to ride Anak Nakal, a 4-year-old trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito. “I’ve one pitch Saturday, and I want to bat it out of the park,” Bravo said.
The name Anak Nakal means mischievous child in Arabic and Kassem Masri, the colt’s owner, said the horse lived up to his name when he was younger. With maturity, however, Masri said Anak Nakal has mellowed a bit.
“He knows what it is all about now,” Masri said of his pride and joy, who galloped under exercise rider Eddie Cruz.
Well Armed’s trainer Eoin Harty said he’s not worried about the rain that fell Wednesday evening into Thursday morning. But he indicated his opinion is subject to change depending upon how much rain falls in the next two days.
“I’m not worried yet,” Harty remarked.
Harty said Well Armed continues to please him in his training. Watching the 6-year-old gallop Thursday morning was owner Bill Casner and his wife, Susan, of WinStar Farm.
“He galloped a mile and a half; he’s doing really well,” Harty said.
American Jerry Barton, who trains in Saudi Arabia for Prince Sultan Mohd Saud Al Kabeer, saddles Joe Louis, who will seek to reverse King’s Cup form with the Neil Bruss-trained pair Muller and Paris Perfect.
He said: “Joe Louis has been trained with the Dubai World Cup in mind and this 2000m is his ideal trip and he handles the dirt here well. The 2400m of the King’s Cup is further than ideal for him, though he won that race last year, and he did beat Muller earlier this season.”