UAE Derby will be Kentucky Derby Test for Inamorato

By Richard Griffiths
Godolphin Racing has nominated Tale Of The Cat's son Inamorato as its chief Kentucky Derby prospect ahead of his run in Saturday's $2 million UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba.

Having won his maiden at 5 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park last year, Inamorato impressed observers when cruising to victory at Nad Al Sheba on March 8. Inamorato was described today as "potentially a very high class horse" by Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

Speaking at a press day, in which 50 of the stable's best horses were worked at Godolphin's private training ground, Crisford said: "The UAE Derby is a big test for Inamorato, his first major test. He's lightly raced and he's got to prove he's good enough to win the UAE Derby before we start talking about Kentucky. But potentially he's a very high-class horse. He's very well suited to the sand, a natural on the surface."

Significantly, the UAE Derby has been upped in distance to 10 furlongs and Crisford is keen to establish whether Inamorato, to be ridden by Frankie Dettori on Saturday, is true stayer.

He said: "From our point of view, we have made the mistake of sending non-stayers in our previous attempts (to win the Kentucky Derby), although they were beaten because they were not good enough, not because they didn't stay. From out point of view running over 10 furlongs before the Derby is not a problem. Going 10 furlongs before the Kentucky Derby is not a big issue. The horses will travel out a little bit earlier than last year, but not much earlier and certainly not to have a prep prior to the race. They will all work and race here before they go."

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor endorsed Crisford's regard for the colt. "Inamorato is the best horse this year. If he wins the UAE Derby then we can start planning. He can come from anywhere, but if he stays close to the pace it would be better for him," he said. "Everyone who has ridden him is convinced he will get the trip. Obviously it is a difficult race. We have tried for the last four years and still we can't win. The reason is that the horses have not had the class to win the race. Street Cry was the horse we thought would be really close but he was injured before the race."

In other Godolphin developments, they are pointing the Sunday Silence filly Danuta, a winner at Belmont in September, toward the Kentucky Oaks provided she runs satisfactorily in the UAE Oaks on April 3.

Eoin Harty, Godolphin's American based handler, is scheduled to train about 25 older horses for the Sheikh Mohammed operation, in tandem with a juvenile string of 50. "The number of older horses is about the same as last year," Crisford said. "There are horses that he has trained – just like there are horses with David Loder – that haven't proved themselves sufficiently good enough to join the senior Godolphin team. Hopefully they will in the future."

Harty's seniors will include last year's Super Derby winner Essence Of Dubai, who recently finished fifth to Grandera on the Nad Al Sheba dirt and returns there for Saturday's $1 million Godolphin Mile.