Osborne pins hopes on Mekong for Gold Dubai Cup glory - GulfToday

Osborne pins hopes on Mekong for Gold Dubai Cup glory


Mekong finished second in $2.5 million Longines Turf Handicap in Saudi Arabia recently.

Jamie Osborne-trained Mekong breezed impressively over the main dirt track on Thursday morning in preparation for the Dubai Gold Cup.

The son of Frankel exits a good second in the $2.5 million Longines Turf Handicap in Saudi Arabia and was unplaced in January’s Meydan Cup (Listed) over this course.

Bill Mott-trained Tacitus continues to impress in the mornings as he prepares for the Dubai World Cup. He is tentatively scheduled to breeze on Sunday or Monday as his final drill toward the big race.

Dubai Golden Shaheen co-favourite Imperial Hint has exited his 800m breeze earlier this week in top order, per trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. The son of Imperialism has been taking it easy with light jogs around the main track since said drill.

Defoe continues to train forwardly toward his run in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic for Roger Varian and has been seen exercising in tandem with G2-placed Doncaster Mile (Listed) winner Sharja Bridge.

In Dubai World Cup jockey news, rider assignments continue to come in with Frankie Dettori picking up Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Sir Winston, Tadhg O’Shea landing the reins on Brooklyn Invitational (G2) winner War Story and Ryan Moore on 2019 runner-up Gronkowski.

Meanwhile, once-beaten Japanese Group 1 winner Chrysoberyl will lead a four-pronged attack on the $12 million Dubai World Cup and has been thriving since arriving in early March after his first loss and first race outside Japan.

He will be joined by Osamu Hirata-conditioned multiple G1 winner Gold Dream, Ryuji Okubo-trained stamina specialist Chuwa Wizard and Koichi Tsunoda’s world-travelling Master Fencer in the gate.

“He has travelled well to Dubai and has settled in,” trainer Hidetaka Otanashi said of U Carrot Farm’s star pupil. “Soumillon will ride him in his upcoming fast work. He didn’t break well in the Saudi Cup, so we might consider the use of a gate (handler) in the Dubai World Cup after we see his progress.”

Previously unbeaten, Chrysoberyl had a poor start in the 1800m Saudi Cup on Feb. 29, ultimately finishing seventh under Soumillon.

He won the 1800m Group 1 Champions Cup in December in record time and impressively defeated Godolphin Mile hopeful Derma Louvre in his only try at 2000m when winning the Japan Dirt Derby in July. That run was his fourth of six consecutive wins to commence the son of Gold Allure’s career.

Katsumi Yoshida’s 2017 February Stakes (G1) and Champions Cup (G1) winner Gold Dream, also a son of Gold Allure, has been down this road before, having finished 14th in the 2017 Dubai World Cup astern Arrogate.

He actually finished one spot ahead of Chrysoberyl in sixth in Saudi last out and was second to him in December’s Champions Cup (G1). A nine-time winner, he has carried his form admirably over five seasons thus far.

Chuwa Wizard is far less seasoned, but has proven a force over testing dirt trips, including wins in the 2000m JBC Classic (Listed), 2400m Diolite Kinen (Listed) and 2500m Nagoya Grand Prix (Listed). Fourth in Chrysoberyl’s Champions Cup three months ago, the 4-year-old son of King Kamehamehaa exits a smart victory in the Kawasaki Kinen (Listed) over 2100m on Jan. 29.

Master Fencer, popular in the USA after his respectable, history-making runs in the Kentucky Derby (sixth) and Belmont Stakes (fifth), has found new life since returning home.

After a productive, if not successful, three-race foray in America, he has won two of his last three back in Japan, including a solid win over 2100m in the Kintei Stakes on Feb. 22 in a swift time of 2:11.40.

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