Jockey Mickael Barzalona has some doubts if Long John will run the 1900m of the UAE Derby after scoring a runaway win in the Group 3 US$250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Meydan, in Dubai yesterday.
Long John won the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield during the Melbourne Spring Carnival last year and was having his first start for trainer Charlie Appleby for Godolphin since running ninth to Shamus Award in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
Barzalona let Long John have his head at the top of the straight and the three year old immediately put several lengths on the rest of the field before scoring a four and a quarter lengths win over Emirates Flyer and Wednaan.
Even though Long John was clearly superior than the rest of the three year olds, Barzalona has some reservations if he would be so dominant over a longer journey.
“I was impressed Staying might be a question mark, but he has got a lot of ability,” Barzalona said.
Even though the winning jockey has put a doubt on Long John’s staying ability, Appleby is still keen to go the Group 2 $US2m UAE Derby (1900m) at Meydan in Dubai World Cup Carnival on March 29, but will discuss the gelding’s program with the rest of the Godolphin team.
“All of the connections will get together and decide where to go but I cannot see that the UAE Derby would be a problem in terms of distance,” Appleby said..
“He is a lovely horse to handle and very straightforward.”
Appleby paid thanks to Peter Snowden who prepared Long John in Australia and was very grateful for all the valuable information he had passed on the in the lead up to the UAE 2000 Guineas.
“I would like to thank Peter Snowden’s team in Australia for giving us all of the information about Long John,” Appleby said after the race.
“We would have been a little more apprehensive tonight if they hadn’t assured us not to worry about his work in the mornings.
“They said put the headgear on and send him to the races and you will see a different horse.
“I was very happy with his preparation and he looked great and I was pleased with his fitness but he is just not a morning horse. Now we know the horse and what he can do on a racecourse, we can just go forward with him.
“Long John has turned it on tonight and was easily good enough.
Appleby said that Barzalona had to let Long John slide to the front at the top of the straight after the three year old started to over-race coming to the home turn, but that only enabled him to set up winning break.