After a couple of mornings on Keeneland's all-weather training track, Godolphin Racing's Wuheida (GB) got her first feel for Keeneland's turf course Thursday morning with an easy 5-furlong breeze in 1:06 with exercise rider Kirsty Milczarek up over a course classified as “good.”
Trained by Charles Appleby, Wuheida figures to be one of the favorites in Saturday's $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Presented by Lane's End (G1). William Buick will have the mount in the 1 1/8-mile race.
“She has settled in well here and done well,” said Tim Denniff, the traveling lad with Wuheida, who along with Milczarek has been with Wuheida at her home base in Newmarket, England.
Wuheida won her career debut and then won the Total Prix Marcel Boussac-Criterium des Pouliches (G1) at Chantilly under Buick. She did not return to the races for nine months.
“She had a little bit of a setback in the spring,” Denniff said. “We were pointing for the English One Thousand Guineas (Group 1 on May 7) but we put her on hold until the Falmouth (G1 on July 14).”
Racing strictly in Group 1 company, Wuheida comes into Saturday's race off a fourth-place finish in the Prix de l'Opera at Chantilly on Oct. 1, beaten only a half-length.
Wuheida arrived at Keeneland early Sunday morning. Denniff said the daughter of Dubawi (IRE) handled the traveling with no problems.
Wuheida should get firm footing Saturday with no rain in the 48-hour forecast for Lexington. Her victory last October at Chantilly was on firm turf.
“That was French firm,” Denniff said. “French firm is a little softer than English firm or American firm.”
Appleby is scheduled to be here for Saturday's race in which a good performance could move Wuheida forward to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
“That (racing in the Breeders' Cup) would be something Charles obviously would have to discuss with Sheikh Mohammed,” Denniff said.
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