Author: Duane Fonseca
BRITISH TRAINER David Simcock believes Universal Order’s Dubai sojourn is bound to ‘make a man of him one day’ after he hit the ground running on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan last Thursday. It was the 4yo Universal gelding’s first overseas start and in the hands of dual UAE Champion Jockey Richard Mullen, who rode him as per directions from Simcock, the somewhat ‘immature and antsy’ chestnut produced another stellar late display as he lengthened his stride to score by a length and a quarter in the 2410m Dubai Racing Club Classic Listed handicap. Running in second was William Haggas’ Pablo Escobarr ridden by Tom Marquand, with Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroorschooled Mountain Hunter taking third under Pat Cosgrave, a further length and three quarters in arrears.
It was a tremendous performance by the Abdullah Al Mansoori-owned star who was gelded following his victory in a 2300m handicap at Yarmouth in September. Universal Order was sent out to the gates early after he seemed a bit anxious in the parade ring, but Simcock hinted it was perfectly normal from him. And following what was a fifth success in eight career starts, the Newmarket-based conditioner said: “A horse like this which is very immature and a little bit antsy, Dubai will, hopefully, make a man of him one day. “He’s had to learn to quicken. He’s had to do that all his life running in small fields at Bath and Yarmouth. “We don’t try to find too much about him at home, he’s a lively character; he’s just very releasing and he was ridden exactly how we wanted him to be ridden and if we had finished third or fourth, it wouldn’t really have mattered but to go and win was great.
“Universal Order is a talented one anyway and training and racing in a different environment, hopefully, will put him in good stead for England in the future.” Universal Order, who is slowly and steadily establishing himself in staying races in the UK, is one of six horses trained by Simcock that have been accepted by the Dubai Racing Club for this year’s carnival.
The rest are Desert Encounter, who according to Simcock is a Dubai veteran and knows Meydan inside out, having run in the two previous renewals of the carnival. Also owned by Al Mansoori, Desert Encounter was third in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold last year behind Godolphin’s Old Persian, who won the Dubai World Cup day progression of the race in the form of the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic over 2400m. Desert Encounter placed eighth of eighth last year and was ninth of ten runners in the 2018 renewal of the race behind another Godolphin luminary in Hawkbill. However, since returning from Dubai last year, the 8yo Halling gelding has won four of his six starts including a run of four wins that culminated in his Grade One success in the Grade 1 Pattison Canadian International Stakes at Woodbine on 12 October.
Meanwhile, Kitaabaat, a 5yo Dansili geldingnow owned by Khalifa Dasmal & Partners, won three of his six starts in 2019 and flies in after a fourth in a 2400m handicap at Lingfield on 4 January. Woven is another 4yo who like Universal Order arrives in Dubai after being gelded. The 4yo son of Dutch Art has been raced primarily over 6/7f and been asked to go a mile just once during a career in which he’s won once in 11 starts. Kasaman and Spanish Mission complete Simcock’s Dubai sextet. Kasaman, a 4yo Charm Spirit colt owned by HH The Aga Khan, has run from a mile all the way up to 2400m, when he took a fifth in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp behind Japan. Spanish Mission, meanwhile, is perhaps Simcock’s most high profile charge, the 4yo Noble Mission colt taking a stunning four length victory in the 2600m Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket in July and winning the Jockey Club Derby Invitational Stakes (conditions) over 2400m by a nose at Belmont Park on his last run in September.
Speaking of his runners, Simcock said: “We brought Universal Order and then we have a horse called Kasaman who is to run on 16 January but he is trained to go a mile and a half and further. “A horse called Woven will go in the 6/7f races and then later on in the carnival we will have Spanish Mission who won the Bahrain Trophy and the Belmont Turf Derby last year, and Desert Encounter who knows this place backwards. “We very much look forward to Dubai as a treat. We are racing for proper prize money, and for progressive horses like Universal Order, it really suits them and we really enjoy it.”