UAE: Renowned international ownership group Team Valor, who landed the Dubai World Cup with their Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in 2013, are eyeing more Meydan glory at this year’s $35 million meeting on March 28.
Team Valor also won the Dubai Duty Free in 2003 with South Africa’s Ipi Tombe, and now they are looking towards the Dubai Sheema Classic or Dubai Gold Cup with the David Simcock-trained Spanish Mission, who is set for his Meydan debut next week. Californian-based G3 winner Oleksandra, who started life in Australia, is also being pointed towards the Al Quoz Sprint.
Spanish Mission enjoyed a fruitful three-year-old campaign for Team Valor, landing the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket’s July meeting before a lucrative success in the $1m Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park.
Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin explained: “Spanish Mission runs on February 27 in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, after which we will decide whether to run him at 12 or 16 furlongs on World Cup night. He is quite versatile. Long range, we think he is a Melbourne Cup horse.”
Oleksandra, a daughter of Animal Kingdom, has been working steadily over the winter at Santa Anita for trainer Neil Drysdale.
“We are pointing her for the G1 Al Quoz,” Irwin continued. “She worked in 50s this morning, something she has done once a week for more than a month as she was being freshened.
“Now Neil Drysdale will start cranking her up at Santa Anita, ship her to Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida to breeze on the grass March 16 to break up the trip to Dubai, then fly her to UAE on March 17. Joel Rosario will ride her at Meydan.”
The famous green-and-red Team Valor silks have already been in evidence at this year’s Dubai Carnival thanks to Nisreen, runner-up in a pair of G2 events. Soon, though, she will be on her way back to France, as Irwin explained, saying: “We are going to breed her in France to Le Havre, keep her in training and probably offer her in December at either Arqana or Tattersalls.”
Around the Horse Racing Planet …