Trainer Caspar Fownes hopes to know on Tuesday whether Gun Pit has earned a place in the world’s richest horse race, the US$10 million Dubai World Cup on March 26, and whether the call-up will carry the added proposition of a sale.
Gun Pit went to Dubai’s Super Saturday already with an invitation to the US$1 million Godolphin Mile on the World Cup undercard, but Fownes was hoping that the five-year-old could perform well enough to earn an upgrade to the main event.
Like every dirt runner on Super Saturday which didn’t lead on the rail, Gun Pit had a severe track bias against him but still managed a brave second in the Group One Al Maktoum Challenge Round Three over the World Cup course.
“He ran brilliantly, pulled up really well and now I am just waiting to hear officially that we’ve got a run in the World Cup,” Fownes said on Monday.
READ MORE: Locked and loaded: Gun Pit to head to Dubai World Cup after game Maktoum Challenge second
“The way the track raced the other night didn’t help him and, if they can fix that in the next few weeks and make it more even, I’m confident Gun Pit will run first three in the big one.
“I was given some positive informal indications after the race that he would get an invitation but I think the official word goes out on Tuesday when we’ll know for sure.
“Domineer is in the same boat for the Golden Shaheen – indications are that he’ll get a run but we’re waiting for the official invitation.”
With little or no racing for top dirt horses in Hong Kong, Fownes’ secondary plan in running on Super Saturday had been to showcase Gun Pit for any potential purchasers from other jurisdictions where he would have more opportunities.
Gun Pit’s Group One performance on Saturday was the ideal shop window and the trainer said yesterday that there has been “significant interest” in the gelding.
“I fielded a couple of calls after Saturday’s race, there are certainly a few feelers out, but I get the impression that any interest in buying him is contingent on Gun Pit making the World Cup field,” Fownes said.
“So I expect we’ll know more about that side of things on Tuesday as well. It would be a shame to see him go but we have to be realistic, now that he’s at this sort of level, there’s nothing for him in Hong Kong on the dirt and that’s his best surface.”
Peniaphobia and Not Listenin’tome in the Al Quoz Sprint, Dan Excel (Godolphin Mile) and Gun Pit are all expected to head to the desert showpiece, and Hong Kong could have as many as eight runners on World Cup night if sprinters like Domineer and Master Kochanwong get a call up to join Rich Tapestry and Super Jockey in the Golden Shaheen.