Ace Victorian trainer Peter Snowden is preparing to saddle up his star colts Helmet and Sepoy for a final time this Sunday morning Aussie time, the dynamic duo to race at Meydan on 2012 Dubai World Cup Night before embarking on a permanent international career for Sheikh’s Godolphin operation.
Exceed And Excel three-year-old Helmet – a triple Group 1 hero thanks to wins in the 2011 Caulfield Guineas, Champagne Stakes and AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes – will be first to race at the coveted meeting in the Group 2 US$2 million UAE Derby (1900m) from barrier 14.
Last seen finishing a disappointing 12th when beaten 11 ½ lengths by Mosheen in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), Helmet pays $12 in the UAE Derby odds at our preferred online bookie bookmaker.com.au.
“He is usually as quiet as a mouse but he blew the start in the Australian Guineas at his last start and first-up he got cluttered up on the inside which made it very difficult for a horse that likes to free-roll,” Snowden said explaining Helmet’s last performance.
Markets for the three-year-olds (Northern Hemisphere) and four-year-olds (Southern Hemisphere) showdown are led by Aiden O’Brien’s top High Chaparral colt Wrote ($4 bookmaker.com.au), winner of the Grade 1 Breeders Cup (1608m) at Churchill Downs last November.
Other single-figure chances include lightly-raced Dubawi colt Mickdaam ($7) out to give their trainer Mike De Knock an incredible sixth UAE Derby win, O’Brien’s improver Daddy Long Legs ($8) and Godolphin’s Kinglet ($9).
Helmet will carry the 59.5kg topweight of the field giving away a lot of weight to some class rivals.
Sepoy, meanwhile, is engaged for the lucrative Group 1 US$2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) drawn in barrier nine.
The first horse to score the rare Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper double in 22-years as juvenile last season, Elusive Quality colt Sepoy has won 10 of his 12 career starts to date with victories in the 2011 Manikato Stakes and Coolmore Stud Stakes rounding out his quartet of thoroughbred majors.
Sepoy resumed at Caulfield on February 25 and also lost their Aussie swansong when running one length away fifth to Woorim as the beaten favourite in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
Dubai Golden Shaheen odds at bookmaker.com.au have Pat Shaw’s superlative Singapore sprinter Rocket Man as the short-priced $2.90 favourite after they drew ideally in barrier one.
A winner of 19 of their 24 starts to date, the Viscount six-year-old is one of the best tried in the field at elite level and showed they were in flying form with a big five length win at Kranji on March 4.
Sepoy occupies the second line of Dubai Golden Shaheen betting at a quote of $3.80 followed by Hong Kong galloper Lucky Nine ($5.50) coming off a win in the Group 1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin who is the only other single-figure chance in the sprint clash.
It will be a big test against an open-age field for Sepoy who is the highest-rated sprinter of his own age in the world.
Helmet and Sepoy have been working well in Dubai ahead of their overseas debuts, Snowden pleased with what he has seen since he arrived on Monday.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way they have settled in since their arrival from Australia,” Snowden said.
Meanwhile Aussie expat So You Think, a dual Cox Plate champion when under the preparation of Bart Cummings who now boasts nine Group/Grade 1 successes, has opened favourite for the night’s feature event, the Group 1 US$10 million Dubai World Cup (2000m).
Despite not having won a race since the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes (2011m) at Leopardstown last September, the now Aiden O’Brien-trained So You Think pays $4 in the 2012 Dubai World Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au.
Full markets for the Dubai World Cup, UAE Derby and Golden Shaheen 2012 are open now at bookmaker.com.au.
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