Bobby Zen

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — With over 100 of the world’s most talented gallopers on hand, it isn’t easy to stand out, but John and Susan Moore’s G1 Dubai Turf hopeful Catnip (Kitten’s Joy) has done just that at Meydan this week.

A strapping, nearly-black gelding, Catnip exits a longshot, but close third to Warm Heart (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Jan. 27. Trainer Mike Stidham looked at Catnip’s Ragozin sheet and that encouraged him to swing for the fences in a hot renewal of the G1 Dubai Turf, bypassing a considerably easier spot in last weekend’s GII Muniz Memorial S. at the Fair Grounds.

“He ran a huge new top in that race,” the freshly arrived Stidham said Wednesday. “We had a choice of running him for $300,000 or $5 million and we decided to take a shot at the $5 million and brought him over. So far, so good.”

Catnip is a half-brother to five-time U.S. graded winner Princess Grace (Karakontie {Jpn}), who was purchased by China Horse Club for $1.7 million at Fasig-Tipton November in 2022 and went on to win a Group 3 while posting a pair of narrowly beaten seconds in Group 1 company in Australia for trainer Chris Waller.



.@PegasusWorldCup Turf third Catnip is one handsome looking horse in the Dubai Turf. #DWC24

— Dubai Racing Club (@RacingDubai) March 27, 2024


On his last visit to Meydan, Stidham saddled ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mystic Guide (Ghostzapper) to a victory in the 2021 Dubai World Cup.

Repole Stable and St Elias Stable’s GI Pegasus World Cup third Crupi (Curlin) was out in the 5-6 a.m. window reserved for the international contingent, his chestnut colt gleaming under the floodlights before and after a couple of spins around the track. Repole will not be in attendance, as he will be on hand at Gulfstream Park to watch ‘TDN Rising Star’ and champion Fierceness (City of Light) in the GI Curlin Florida Derby, but here to represent the stable are Pat Cummings and a sleep-deprived Alex Solis II. You’ll have to contact him for details.

The American-based, but locally owned Clapton (Brethren) is hard to miss when he comes onto the track, his orange tack and matching polos giving him absolutely no cover. After some internal discussion, the Florida-bred was given the green light for a World Cup bid, and connections are quietly confident he will fire his best shot Saturday.

Trainer Todd Fincher and owner Joe Peacock, Jr. made their way across the track to the starting gate where G1 Saudi Cup hero Senor Buscador (Mineshaft) got acquainted with the stalls before showing good energy in his track gallop. He appears a fresh horse despite his recent travels.

So popular was Jun Park and Delia Nash’s Sibelius (Not This Time) leading up to last year’s G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen that a DailySibelius hashtag was created on X. By the looks of it, he’s grown his fan club and is always good for hamming it up at the outside fence beneath his adoring work rider Allyson Walker.



SIBELIUS with @AllysonKWalker went for an easy spin around the track in G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen prep @RacingDubai #HorseRacing #DubaiWorldCup #sportsphotography #Nikon

— Martin Dokoupil (@Martins_Images) March 27, 2024


Also making a good impression was fellow Golden Shaheen entrant Nakatomi (Firing Line), a rare Dubai runner for trainer Wesley Ward. Hopkins (Quality Road), beaten just a length into fourth by Sibelius last year, went through his gears down the lane Wednesday.

Gander S. winner Pandagate (Arrogate) was led onto the track by assistant trainer Miguel Clement, with his wife Acacia Clement not far behind. The New York-bred gray–his late sire’s literal body double–stood for what felt like an eternity on the outside rail before taking off around Meydan and wrapping things up with a visit to the gate.

Caramel Chip (Midshipman) looks to have it all to do against the likes of Saudi Crown (Always Dreaming) and Isolate (Mark Valeski) in Saturday’s G2 Godolphin Mile, but win, lose or draw, the Jose D’Angelo trainee looks to be doing as well as he could be ahead of the $1-million contest.

The post DWC Trackside Report: Catnip Me-‘Wow’-ing Them At Meydan appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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