John Moore hopes the Dubai World Cup withdrawal of Animal Kingdom means Xtension can replace him in the US$10 million feature on March 31, as the trainer tries to avoid local nemesis Ambitious Dragon in the Dubai Duty Free on the same night.
It's rare that the world's richest horse race looms as a 'softer option', but that is Moore's thinking as he pushes for Xtension to gain a spot in the 2,000m main event and dodge a horse he has finished runner-up to at his last two starts.
'We're sick of running second to Ambitious Dragon,' Moore said.
Ambitious Dragon, Xtension and California Memory are entered in the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free over 1,800m on the turf, but Moore said an extra 200m and switch to the Tapeta would benefit his five-year-old.
'Xtension has shown he can run the 2,000m and I think he will like that type of forgiving surface, he hasn't got the greatest feet and it will soften the impact,' he said.
'We can't jump to any conclusions, but it would be nice to take the place of Animal Kingdom. If we get a call-up he won't let Hong Kong down, he never puts in a bad run.'
Last year's Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his pelvis that will keep him sidelined for at least three months, with the injury not related to the left hind leg fracture incurred in last year's Belmont Stakes.
Hong Kong Jockey Club director of racing Bill Nader has pressed Xtension's claims to Dubai Racing Club chief executive officer Frank Gabriel.
'It would be great to have Hong Kong horses in four races,' Nader said. 'If Xtension can get a run, the two other horses in the Duty Free, plus Joy And Fun [Al Quoz] and Lucky Nine [Golden Shaheen] in the sprints, it would really diversify our portfolio.'
In other news, Gerald Mosse has been granted an early release from his riding contract, with the Frenchman to finish on April 2.