Drawing barrier one was a blessing for Frederick Engels in Saturday's Golden Shaheen, but jockey Olivier Doleuze said the same gate could be a curse for Eagle Regiment in the Al Quoz Sprint if it means the "naughty" sprinter is loaded too early.
While John Moore couldn't have wished for a better gate with Frederick Engels, especially with major threat, Mental, drawn wide in the one-turn event on the Tapeta, Doleuze said he would seek clarification of the loading procedures at Meydan and hope for special consideration.
"I will try to make sure they don't put him in early because you can't have a helper in the gate with him there and he can be a bit naughty if he stands for too long, that's the main concern," he said.
Barrier manners and handling procedures were an issue last year on World Cup night for Joy And Fun when he blew the start, eventually finishing third. Connections blamed the fact barrier attendants didn't have hold of the horse's tail as they do in Hong Kong to prevent him from leaning back on the gates. Joy And Fun, the winner of this race in 2010, drew 11 of 16 this time, with nominal favourite Shea Shea drawing in seven.
The centre and outside of the straight course tend to be favoured by jockeys, but even so, Doleuze said drawing one wasn't a disaster tactically for Manfred Man Ka-leung's straight-track specialist.
"We just have to deal with the gate - if you win it is great, and if you lose it is an excuse," he said. "He has enough speed to put him wherever I want anyway, but at least I won't be around horses. When you are in the middle of somewhere and you miss the start, you can get squeezed up."
Frederick Engels stretched his legs in the trotting ring yesterday morning, with his trainer flying in last night to watch the horse do a light workout on the Tapeta this morning.
Moore's son, George, said the sprinter had suffered minimal weight loss and was settling in well.
"The horse is fine but he hasn't worked yet, he hasn't lost too much weight," he said. "He has done the work he needs to do already, back in Hong Kong. We'll have him on full feed by tomorrow and he will be out on the main track in the morning."
Meanwhile, Good Ba Ba finally retired yesterday. The 11-year-old, who landed in Australia via Macau after his colourful and idiosyncratic owner John Yuen Se-kit decided to end the horse's first retirement after 18 months of inaction, ran his last race behind Black Caviar at Moonee Valley last Friday.