Actions speak louder than words and going by the impression he has made on onlookers at morning training, David Marnane’s multiple Grade Two winner Tato Key suggests he could unlock his true self in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday. The 4yo bay colt by Bay Deputy is scheduled for another clash with Drafted, who beat him by half a length in their battle in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint on 31 January over the same 1200m distance on dirt. Both are preps for the world’s richest dirt sprint, the $2.5 million Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night and Marnane sounds confident as he said: “Physically, he looks like he’s developing all the time, which is quite good. “At the end of the day, he’s still a young horse who has done really well and has stepped up with every breeze.
At this stage, we’re very happy. He seems to do what you ask him to do and in the race he’s the same way. “The two of them, hopefully they lock horns again. I’m under no illusions and know Drafted is a good horse. Hopefully we can improve. “All we can do is worry about our own horse and at the moment, he’s doing well and could certainly be a lovely horse for years to come. I think he’ll come on from the run, as he was away seven months before the Al Shindagha Sprint. Hopefully his progress transfers to the race.” Owned by Yu Long, Tato Key has won 12 of 15 starts, including the Grade 2 Classico Cuidad de la Plata and Grade 2 Classico General Manuel Belgrano, both over 1200m, and also has two Grade Three wins and five Listed victories.
His only finish outside of the top two was when third in Grade Three company over 1300m, which is the furthest he has run. American Champion Sprint Horse in 2017 and 2018, Roy H, dual runner-up X Y Jet and multiple Grade One winner Imperial Hint are expected for the Golden Shaheen, with Japanese sprinter Matera Sky, fifth last year, also reported to be pointed at the race. Dubai Golden Shaheen probables: Roy H, X Y Jet, Imperial Hint, Drafted, Tato Key, Matera Sky, Lavaspin, I Kirk and Switzerland.