Carrying jockey Victor Espinoza, who is best known in Dubai as the rider of 2016 Dubai World Cup winner California Chrome, Conquest Tsunami breezed about 600m before dawn on Tuesday morning, streaking over the Meydan dirt in his last serious workout before the Al Quoz Sprint.
Trainer Peter Miller oversaw the move down the stretch while standing near the parade ring.
“'Tsunami' might be my best chance in that race,” said Miller, who also will send out Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Stormy Liberal and Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint runner-up Richard's Boy in the Al Quoz Sprint. “He's sharp as a razor.”
While Miller said he was hoping that the drill would be a bit more leisurely, he was satisfied by each of the works turned in by his runners during the morning.
“They each went three-eighths (about 600m) to gallop out a half (-mile, about 800m), nothing fancy, just kind of stretched their legs and got a little blow. Basically, that will be the end of their training, for the most part.”
Miller said his quartet could just jog in the quarantine barn area for the rest of the week.
Richard's Boy – Streaking through the darkness of the 5am training period, the gray Richard's Boy turned in his final speed work by going about 600m in approximately :36 under jockey Kent Desormeaux.
The fact that Richard's Boy, along with stablemate Conquest Tsunami, is here in Dubai and ready to run is something of a miracle, as trainer Peter Miller recalled that both were temporarily lost during the chaos and devastation of the fire that killed 43 horses at the San Luis Rey Downs training centre in California in December.
“We found Richard's Boy on a backyard farm about ten miles (16km) away. We couldn't find Conquest Tsunami for a few days,” said Miller, who suffered the loss of five horses under his care due to the blaze. “It was a nightmare.”
However, both horses have recovered well from the ordeal, and Miller said Richard's Boy is particularly well-suited to international racing in the sense that he handles the stress of shipping and racing well.
“He's a remarkable horse. I've never had a horse with as much energy as that horse. He travels and runs and travels and runs. He never seems to get tired, so he's a pretty neat horse,” Miller said.
A 6-year-old gelding by Idiot Proof, Richard's Boy finished fifth in last year's Al Quoz Sprint after getting a bad start.
“We were supposed to have assistant starters with our horses. Somehow or another that didn't happen. Hopefully, this year we can get assistant starters with my four horses and we can get a clean break,” Miller said.
Richard's Boy recorded a career-best performance by finishing second to stablemate Stormy Liberal in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) last November.
Stormy Liberal – Winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1), Stormy Liberal flashed down the dirt track under Victor Espinoza, finishing an about 600m blowout a bit quicker than trainer Peter Miller had hoped for but looking like he was enjoying the experience.
“He was moving a little faster than I probably would have liked, but my horses are in good shape,” Miller said.
Miller has some question marks in his mind about Stormy Liberal since the 6-year-old Stormy Atlantic gelding did not travel well to Hong Kong last December and finished a disappointing 11th in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint (G1). The trainer is hoping for a different experience in Dubai.
“He didn't ship well over there (to Hong Kong), didn't eat, didn't have his energy. We're hoping we see the real Stormy Liberal in Dubai, and if we do, I think he can be right there at the finish of the Al Quoz Sprint,” Miller said.
With four horses at Meydan to run at the meeting, Miller is looking forward to Saturday.
“It's great. It's a lot of work and it's a lot of anxiety, with managing the help and figuring out who's going to do everything,” noted the trainer, who also has to continue to oversee his stable based in California. “But it will be all worth it if we win.”
Roy H – As jockey Kent Desormeaux shouted out “whoa, whoa, whoa,” American champion sprinter Roy H bounded powerfully around the turn on the dirt track after breezing eagerly through about 600m in approximately :37 in his final piece of serious work.
“That's him—he's full of vim and vigor. He kind of dragged Kent around there,” trainer Peter Miller said. “He's coming into the race well and he handled the surface well. I think we brought the right horse to Dubai.”
“The horse is very aggressive and gets in the bridle,” Desormeaux said. “It's my job to slow him down, and it's my job to slow him down in (the early part of) the race. I spend more time trying to slow him down than pushing him forward. He's an amazing horse.”
The jockey has ridden Roy H, a 6-year-old gelded son of More Than Ready, to three consecutive victories, including the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1).
Mind Your Biscuits – Accompanied by his groom on the shank, the leggy chestnut picked up his gallop before breaking into an easy 400m breeze around the dirt track and galloped out strongly past the line for another 200m and leaving both trainer and rider grinning ear to ear.
Trainer and co-owner Chad Summers was on hand to watch and was pleased with the ease in which he powered down the track.
“Look at him, ears up,” Summers said. “He's a different horse and if that's good or bad remains to be seen. Last year I think he got overshadowed by Arrogate, but what he did from the 14 hole was phenomenal. This year's race is tougher but I couldn't be happier.”
Mind Your Biscuits will take advantage of schooling on Tuesday evening, riding in the horsebox from his barn to the receiving barn, walking through the tunnel and taking a few laps around the saddling area and the parade ring before heading home.
X Y Jet – Trainer Jorge Navarro changed his game plan with Dubai Golden Shaheen contender X Y Jet on Tuesday morning, sending the grey speedster to the dirt track in the 5am time slot rather than the 7am shift he had been utilising.
“I wanted to get him under the lights, like he will be for the race, “ Navarro said. “And I wanted to get that out of the way. “
X Y Jet, who can be difficult to ride, handled the assignment perfectly and did not test exercise rider Anthony Cruz, who steered him through about 2400m under the track spotlights.
“He's ready, “Navarro said after watching X Y Jet stroll back after the work with his ears up and his expression bright. “I can't wait for the race.”
Holding Gold – Commitments with his widespread North American operation will keep trainer Mark Casse from saddling Holding Gold, so he has entrusted the horse's care to his able assistant, Randi Melton.
On Tuesday morning while astride a pony, she accompanied Holding Gold to the main track for a routine 1600m gallop rather than his customary 2400m exercise.
Melton explained that the long walk from the stable area to the track and back again coupled with the shorter distance of the gallop is enough to keep the horse affectionately called 'Goldie' fresh and on his toes.
“He seems to be going better and better each day,” Melton said. “We have not galloped on the turf course, and I'm not sure if we're going to. He really likes the main track surface, so it does not seem like he would need to. “
Holding Gold, who is owned and was bred by Mrs. Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation in Florida, will make his first start since a seventh-place finish and troubled trip in the 2017 Breeders' cup Turf Sprint (G1).
Live Oak is one of North America's leading racing and breeding operations and Mrs. Weber's famed red polka dots on white silks have graced the winner's circle at foremost tracks across the continent for nearly 50 years. She is the granddaughter of John T. Dorrance, the inventor of the formula for condensed soup and the founder the Campbell Soup Company.
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