Author: Duane Fonseca

GOING BY his previous form, British trainer William Haggas would rather give Dubai a miss and focus on racing elsewhere. But having nearly tasted success with Pablo Escobarr in the Dubai Racing Club Classic, a Listed handicap run over 2410m on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan last Thursday, all that could change. Haggas told Al Adiyat he would not have any more runners during the course of the carnival, but was considering a few names for the Dubai World Cup on 28 March and its Super Saturday dress rehearsal three weeks earlier. “We may have some for Super Saturday and then Dubai World Cup night, but we have to dot a few i’s and cross a few t’s before that,” said Haggas, who has tasted carnival success just twice over the years courtesy of Sooraah’s victory in a 1600m handicap at Meydan in 2012 and Charlie Cool winning the 2007 Muthathir Cup at Nad Al Sheba.

His biggest local achievement to date remains the HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum-owned Mukhadram’s second behind African Story in the 2014 running of the Group 1 Dubai World Cup. “I’ve been remarkably unsuccessful here but we’ve had the odd winner; our best here was Mukhadram’s second in the Dubai World Cup which was great and I’d like to do better,” said 59yo Haggas, who won the 1996 Epsom Derby with Shaamit and the 2011 Epsom Oaks with Dancing Rain. “I don’t know yet which horses will come here and we have other options of taking some horses to Australia so I need to think about that in the month of January.” Haggas arrived in Dubai with three horses for last year’s carnival and while Seniority and Original Choice took a fourth and fifth in handicaps, Jahbath was a dismal 11th in the Group 2 UAE Derby.

This year the Hussain Alabbas Lootahowned Pablo Escobarr is the only name representing his Somerville Lodge Stables at Meydan and it remains to be seen whether or not the 4yo Galileo colt will remain in Dubai or be shipped back to the UK. “We brought a couple of horses last year and they didn’t do really well, and this year we felt he was the right horse to bring. I think he’s fit and race ready. He’s been training well and is in good shape,” Haggas said. “I’ve only brought Pablo Escobarr and he’s likely to go home after this race because there aren’t that many opportunities for him here. It would depend on how he gets on here, but we’re planning on taking him home.”