An eye-catching debut on the Meydan sand on Saturday night has Dundonnell looking like a contender in the rich Dubai sprints but first-up flop Fabulous One may also continue his overseas campaign, albeit on turf.
Trainer Caspar Fownes was thrilled with Dundonnell’s gritty second with top weight on the tricky surface but Chris So Wai-yin was left with some tough decisions to make after Fabulous One looked uncomfortable finishing near last in the same race.
Dundonnell sat wide up on the speed in the 1,200m handicap before chasing gamely behind Godolphin’s four-year-old Comicas, jockey Christophe Soumillon forced to change direction late on the runner-up as the winner ran out.
“There was a lot to like about the run, he pulled up well after the race and his next start will probably be at the Super Saturday meeting just under three weeks from now,” Fownes said, with the US$200,000 Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal the likely stepping stone before contesting the US$2 million Golden Shaheen on World Cup night three weeks later. “The most encouraging aspect of the performance was that he was giving five kilograms to the winner, at level weights he wins and even if it had gone to the stewards’ room it might have been interesting.”
Still, Fownes wasn’t getting ahead of himself, with and up and down experience with Gun Pit 12-months ago still fresh in his mind.
“It as a step in the right direction, but Gun Pit ran a bottler first-up last year as well, but then next start when he got in the kick back he didn’t handle it at all, so we aren’t counting our chickens yet,” Fownes said. “The track is like that, you have to stay out of harm’s way, if you can be up outside the firing line and out of the kickback you are fine.”
So faces a far more difficult decision after Fabulous One, not only dealing with the notoriously severe kickback and racing on a left-handed track for this first time, gave ground quickly in the straight after sitting outside the eventual winner in the run.
“He didn’t look happy out there; I don’t think he handled the turn, he never looked balanced to me, and I’m not sure he liked the surface either, but the main thing is that he is fine and scoped clean,” So said.
Fabulous One won five from nine on the turf last season and So said the US$200,000 Group Three Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint over the 1,200m straight on Super Saturday could be an option.
“That will depend on where he sits in the ratings, we will need to check with the handcapper, but there isn’t many options for him in handicaps,” So said. “We could try that turf race on March 4, he is still a competitive horse on turf.”