Trainer Peter Snowden was surprised at the massive media contingent at morning trackwork at Meydan Racecourse in the lead up to the World Cup and is hoping his two charges are the centre of attention come Saturday night.
Snowden has arrived in Dubai to put the finishing touches on Sepoy and Helmet for their assignments at the Dubai World Cup meeting.
Sepoy has barrier nine in the Group 1 US$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) and Helmet has drawn the outside of fourteen in the Group 2 US$2m UAE Derby (1900m).
“There is a huge build-up to the World Cup meeting,” Snowden said.
“The media has come from all over the world to be here in Dubai and I think I counted at least 30 cameras at trackwork.”
“This is the first time I’ve raced horses internationally, it’s a big learning curve for me, but it is just fantastic to be involved in such a great event.”
Snowden is confident that both his three year olds will handle the tricky Tapeta track after Sepoy had some initial trouble handling the artificial surface.
“He’s handling the track well now but the barrier draw was a little disappointing,” Snowden said.
“With Rocket Man drawing one, we know what he will do early so it is important Sepoy begins well.
“He does have good gate speed so we know he will be handy but Kerrin will need to be aggressive early and be up on the speed.
“This track is testing and its hard to come from behind but it will be a balancing act because we want Sepoy to be strong late in the race.”
Snowden is hoping Helmet is on his best behaviour on Saturday night, knowing full well that he won’t be able to give away any advantage at this level of racing.
“It’s exactly the same with Helmet – I’d like him to be up on the speed from the start but hopefully without having to spend too much energy to get there.”
Sepoy and Helmet, both to be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, will be having their last run for Snowden on Saturday before being transferred to Darley’s Godolphin operation for a European campaign.
Big race rider Craig Williams was not too concerned when Ortensia drew ten out of sixteen in the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) on the turf track.
Williams was confident Ortensia can handle the straight course and was happy with what he saw when he went to inspect her on his arrival in Dubai.
“It’s a big thing, as not all horses travel well, but chatting to Paul Messara and the horse’s owners they believe she has thrived,” Williams said.
“I couldn’t be happier looking at her and listening to them.”
“She’s worked well twice there and Paul and her owner, Alister Fraser, are really pleased.”
Ortensia is going into Saturday’s night race with a last start Group 1 win beside her name after taking out the $500,000 Burswood-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on November 19 for trainer Paul Messara.
Williams is also riding Genten in the Derby and hopes to continue his great recent run of international success which started after his wins on Southern Speed in last year’s Caufield Cup and Pinker Pinker in the Cox Plate.
After his outstanding Spring, he went on to win the Hong Kong Vase on Dunaden, the Hai Futurity on Alfredo at Nakayama, Japan and the Karaka Millions in Auckland on Ockham’s Razor.