Floral Pegasus warming to the desert
Floral Pegasus semaphored his credentials for success on the international stage on Saturday night with a brilliant piece of work under bright morning sunshine at Dubai's Nad al Sheba racetrack yesterday.
The handsome chestnut colt had veteran stablemate Bullish Luck for company and blazed down 600 metres from the starting stalls in 34.5 seconds, the final 400 metres in 21.2 seconds. It was a spectacular speed drill that more than matched anything he had ever done at home. Nine-year-old Bullish Luck, meanwhile, has been around long enough to do what he wants. Despite being blinkered and ridden aggressively by Cruz's senior track rider, Cody Mo Wai-kit, Bullish Luck eased himself out of the speed duel with the younger Floral Pegasus and was beaten by four lengths by the 2007 Mercedes-Benz Classic Mile hero.
While Cruz was delighted with the performance of Floral Pegasus, his immediate concern was to allay any fears that Bullish Luck's owner, Wong Wing-keung, may have had after his multiple Group One winner had been so thoroughly flogged. 'Don't worry about Bullish Luck, he's a lazy horse in trackwork,' Cruz said. 'If he feels like it, he'll work along nicely but most of the time, he doesn't feel like it. He's a racehorse, he likes to save his energy for race day.'
Bullish Luck and Floral Pegasus will contest the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free (1,777m) on Saturday night. The Jockey Club will be accepting betting on the race.
British bookmaking firm William Hill has published markets on this, the world's equal-richest race on turf, and has quoted Floral Pegasus at 14-1, with Bullish Luck at 16-1. The bookmaker has Godolphin stable's new recruit, Literato, to be ridden by Frankie Dettori, favourite at 4-1.
Trainer Sean Woods has Watch What Happens running in the Group Two Godolphin Mile and declared the bay to have been improved by his first Dubai outing three weeks ago.
'I was here for his [Tuesday] work over 600m and it was very good,' Woods said. 'I'm happier he won't be as fired up for this race as he was three weeks ago, when he wouldn't settle from the wide barrier. With a good gate and provided they go a decent pace this time I'd be hopeful he can be in the first four or five.'