By Nicholas Godfrey
Ireland: Aidan O’Brien is busy finalising his plans for the Dubai World Cup card, where Classic-winning stayer Kew Gardens is set to head a high-profile Ballydoyle team in the Dubai Gold Cup.
The five-year-old, who won the St Leger in 2018, finished off last term with the best performance of his career in beating Stradivarius in the G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot in October. Now O’Brien is eyeing the $1.5 million contest at Meydan, where racing will take place behind closed doors on March 28 owing to coronavirus precautions.
“I’m very happy with Kew Gardens,” O’Brien said, speaking to the Dubai Racing Club. “It’s more possible at the moment that he’ll go for the two miles. He was at Dundalk recently and we’re very happy with him.”
Kew Gardens is likely to face an ultra-strong field featuring last year’s Dubai Gold Cup winner Cross Counter and his Saudi conqueror Call The Wind, plus Mekong and Prince Of Arran, who were second and third in last month’s Longines Turf Handicap in Riyadh. Dee Ex Bee, now with Salem Bin Ghadayer in Dubai, is another likely contender alongside Spanish Mission.
Other big names in Ballydoyle’s Meydan team are likely to include Investec Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck and globetrotting star mare Magic Wand.
“Anthony Van Dyck and Fleeting are likely for the Sheema Classic and Magic Wand has come out her race very well and the plan at the moment is that she will go in the Dubai Turf as well,” added O’Brien.
“I’m not sure if Sergei Prokofiev will get into the (Al Quoz) Sprint, but he will likely go if he does. I’m waiting to see who is accepted into the UAE Derby, but plan to be represented in that.”
• Visit the Dubai Racing Club website