Grand Hombre Likely to Enter World Cup

By Jason Ford
Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford revealed that Grand Hombre is its most likely representative in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), the exciting climax of the Dubai International Racing Carnival at Nad Al Sheba on March 27.

Godolphin confirmed the decision on its Web site, which also listed the nominations of Refuse To Bend to the Dubai Duty Free and Inamorato for the Godolphin Mile.

A 4-year-old son of Grand Slam, Grand Hombre was bought, reputedly for a seven figure sum, by Godolphin after he had won the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. III) last year. The 'sloppy' conditions did not suit him when beaten a length in the Indiana Derby (gr. III) and he has pleased connections since his arrival in the UAE.

Crisford, who was at pains to point out he was by no means a definite starter or to rule out any other contenders, said: "Grand Hombre is a really nice horse with good form and he appears to be progressing. Admittedly, he needs to improve quite a bit on what he has already achieved to be a serious contender but he has impressed us in his work and will probably go straight to the big race.

"His form in the States is good, though he was not racing against the best of his generation and he is a nice prospect."

Grand Hombre is the first foal out of 1997 Chilean Oaks winner Santona who was the Champion Grass Mare that same year. A 10-year-old daughter of Winning, she is a half-sister to the group II Chilean winner Impecable, part of a high-class Chilean family.

Buyers at Fasig-Tipton in February 2002 must be kicking themselves as he was led out unsold at $40,000 at the 2-year-old in training sale. Later that year, at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Bruce Carter was able to buy his full sister, subsequently named Triple Slam, for $15,000. She realised $105,000 at the Ocala 2-year-old sale last April.

The mare also has a colt by Honour and Glory who is now a juvenile.

Refuse To Bend, winner of the 2,000 Guineas (Eng-I) last year for Dermot Weld, is expected to make his Godolphin debut in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) on the same night. The 4-year-old son of Sadler's Wells disappointed in the Epsom Derby (Eng-I), in France and in the Breeders' Cup after his Newmarket win, though he did manage a win at Leopardstown and could be the type of horse with which Godolphin have thrived in the past.

New stable companion Crimson Palace, if invited, could also make the group I contest, Crisford added: "Refuse To Bend has been going really well at home and the Duty Free looks the most logical target as the nine-furlong trip looks ideal and we want to keep him to the turf.

"We are waiting for Crimson Palace to receive an official invite before deciding on her race."

Refuse To Bend is a half-brother to the Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winner Media Puzzle, out of the group III-placed Market Slide. She is a winning Gulch half-sister to grade I winner Twilight Agenda, who was also runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic. The second dam, Grensen was a grade II-winning daughter of Grenfall who was placed in grade I company. She is also the grandam of Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Go and Go.

Inamorato looked very useful when defeating Victory Moon at Nad Al Sheba last March but has only managed a solitary victory from seven subsequent outings. A 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat, he was arguably unlucky behind the aforementioned Victory Moon in the UAE Derby, but was put firmly in his place by that rival in the second round of the Maktoum Challenge recently. The Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) would look the ideal race on the big night.

He is a half-brother to ten 10 winners, including A M Swinger, Fire Two and Darby's Chant, who all won U.S. stakes races. Their dam, Be My Sweehheart, is a placed No Robbery mare from the family of the prolific stakes winner Process Shot and grade I winner Maria's Mon.

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