Winner of A handicap at the 2018 carnival, Hit The Bid’s Irish handler Darren Bunyan believes last year’s 12th place finish in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint has been well and truly relegated to history and the focus is firmly on this year’s Dubai winter which starts for them tonight at Meydan. Hit The Bid finished well behind the Charlie Appleby-trained Jungle Cat in the 1200m Group One contest on Dubai World Cup night and arrived in Dubai having won the Group 3 Mercury Stakes on the allweather track at Dundalk in October. The 5yo Exceed And Excel colt starts his Dubai campaign with a 1000m handicap sprint for horses rated 95-110 and Bunyan feels he has every chance of improving on his 2018 record in the Emirates, when he was twice beaten by the late Ertijaal, including in this race last year.
Bunyan said: “He’s 100% and we couldn’t be happier with how he’s shipped over. “He came out of the box like he had been on holiday, not a horse who had been travelling. He won the Group 3 Mercury Stakes at Dundalk last out, which was nice to win because it was sponsored by Mr Malih Al Basti. “We’re seeing a whole different horse. He’s learned to sprint properly. Last year, going against a legend like Ertijaal taught him a lot. He’s a much stronger horse this year, so I wouldn’t rule out stretching out to six furlongs again or even trying the dirt.” Bunyan hopes to take Hit The Bid to Australia if all goes well in Dubai. “
In the Al Quoz things just didn’t work out for him, but seeing the things he’s been showing us at home there are many options open for him now. He’s a much better horse. After the carnival, there’s a plan to hopefully run him in Sydney in Group One company.”