Hills pins hopes on A Momentofmadness for Dubai World Cup Carnival opener - GulfToday

Hills pins hopes on A Momentofmadness for Dubai World Cup Carnival opener


Charlie Hills kicks off his Dubai WC Carnival campaign with A Momentofmadness.

Since taking out his license just eight years ago, trainer Charlie Hills has rapidly proven himself one of the world’s prominent young conditioners—especially with turf sprinters.

The winner of G1 contests in five countries and conditioner of swift standouts Battaash and Muhaarar kicks off his Dubai World Cup Carnival with, no surprise, a hard-knocking sprinter in the form of A Momentofmadness.

Hills has the 6-year-old gelded son of Elnadim primed for opening night’s $135,000 1000m handicap down the long Meydan Racecourse turf chute.

On Thursday morning, the Tony Wechsler and Ann Plummer-owned bay stretched his legs with an impressive drill on the Meydan training track’s turf course at just past 8:00 am.

“I’m obviously looking forward to running during the Carnival and with (A Momentofmadness),” Hills said.

“It’s the first time he’s ever travelled and I’m pleased with the condition he’s in over there. He had his first canter (Thursday) morning and we’re happy with him and looking forward to the handicap over five furlongs.”

A winner of eight of his 38 starts, A Momentofmadness has proven a reliable type, finishing in the top three in half his starts, including a good third in the 2018 Prix du Gros-Chene (G2). He enters the DWC Carnival unraced since Sept. 14, when finishing second (of 22 starters) in a Portland Handicap defence attempt. The winner that day, 3-year-old Oxted, is now rated 109, while A Momentofmadness turns the new year at 97.

“He has a good record at Doncaster and I think he bumped into a really good horse that day,” Hills continued.

“Dubai has always been the aim since then and I think the track should suit him. He likes five furlongs and fast ground.”

Another sprinter from the Lambourn-based yard set to arrive later today, Dec.28, for the DWC Carnival is Juddmonte Farms homebred Equilateral, a Listed winner who has held some lofty company in 2019. The 105-rated son of Equiano is a candidate for the 1200m $175,000 handicap (90+) on Jan. 9, as well as 90-105 handicap over the same distance on Jan. 16.

Meanwhile, Laurence O’Kane and Melanie Marnane’s hard-trying sprinter Alfredo Arcano will lead a well-handicapped trio of David Marnane-trained horses into the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

A regular at the 10-week international showcase, the Irish conditioner is optimistic that said triad (completed by Freescape and Settle for Bay), will be competitive this season. All are expected to arrive later today, Dec.28.

Alfredo Arcano will start things off on opening night (Jan. 2) when he clashes with the best local sprinters in the Group 3 $200,000 Dubawi Stakes—his first try on dirt. In 40 starts, he has nine wins and exits a smart victory on Dec. 13 over 1200m on Dundalk’s left-handed all-weather course.

“I just want to get him started and he’s such a nice, ultra-consistent horse,” Marnane said. “He’s as good a horse as (locally G3-placed) Tato Key was last year and I’ve wanted to try him on the dirt. He ran very well at Dundalk.”

Marnane continues on Jan. 9 with improving Freescape, who races for City Equine Syndicate and comes to Dubai for a third consecutive winter. Soon to be five, the son of Dubai Turf (G1) winner Cityscape also exits a victory in December at Dundalk—his over a mile on Dec. 6. From 20 starts, he has three wins and has acquitted himself well in his six Meydan tries, including a third in the Meydan Classic (Listed) as a 3-year-old in 2018.

“Freescape will run on the second night and won his prep very easily,” Marnane said. “The form worked out well and a horse he beat (Yuften, third) won the other day. Last year he was running off 97 and he was beaten and then had to wait four weeks. He also had two very wide draws last season. Now, he’s back at a good rating and he’s a more furnished, stronger horse. He saw the mile out really well the other day and won a very competitive Dundalk handicap, so hopefully he does the same in Dubai. He loves the place.”

The highest-profile of the trio is McGettigans Management Services and Mauice Casey’s Settle for Bay, thanks to his popular victory in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot 2018. Given a six-month break following a failed defence attempt in June, he returned with an eighth of 12 last out at Dundalk on Dec. 20. Last season, he ran twice at the DWC Carnival and failed to factor.

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