Hong Kong’s Dubai World Cup team on March 25 will be one of the smallest in recent years after Super Saturday at Meydan dropped Fabulous One out of contention but the Caspar Fownes-trained Dundonnell will likely press on to the Golden Shaheen.
Not Listenin’tome and Dundonnell look likely to represent Hong Kong in the US$2 million Golden Shaheen over 1,200m on the dirt, with Amazing Kids, in the US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint the only other Sha Tin-trained runner on the night.
At Super Saturday’s dress rehearsal for World Cup night, Dundonnell backed up a solid second to Comicas at his first appearance on the Meydan dirt by finishing third in the Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal (1,200m) behind Morawij and Cool Cowboy, this time easily relegating Comicas to fourth.
After being slow to begin, Dundonnell worked through along the rail to a striking position on the home turn but was unable to go on with it from there, initially disappointing Fownes despite being beaten only a length and a quarter.
Fownes was keen to have the gelding scoped, concerned that everything may not be 100 per cent with him internally, but jockey Christophe Soumillon gave the trainer some positive feedback on the run and settled his mind.
“I thought he could pick up and run through the line a little better. He sweated up a bit beforehand – as I said before the race, he’s a little bit quirky. He’s on and off; last time, he was good,” Fownes said, but will press on to run in the Golden Shaheen if the seven-year-old receives an invitation.
“Christophe was happy enough and thought it was a good trial for the big one. He had to use some energy early to make up for the slow start and thought Dundonnell would have been closer to the winner if he’d jumped with them. So why not push on as long as the horse is OK? We are here now.”
The Chris So Wai-yin-trained Fabulous One had disappointed on the dirt behind Comicas first-up in Dubai and was switched to the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint (1,200m) in a bid to gain an invitation to the Al Quoz over the same course in three weeks’ time.
But, after showing his customary high speed, Fabulous One emptied out quickly from the 200m and finished 10th to impressive winner Jungle Cat and will now return home.
“Actually, I’m quite happy with that run,” So said. “He has performed today and I feel that we know where he is at. He jumped well, he got on the speed and he had his chance.
“I think it didn’t help that he hadn’t run over a straight 1,200m before and that was the problem – he was too fierce, he couldn’t take a breath and he was looking for the bend. I don’t think there’s any chance he will get an invite for the Al Quoz Sprint and even if he did, I think we would go back to Hong Kong anyway.”