Dual American Sprint Champion Roy H made a statement in January when he trounced his foes to comfortably win the Grade 2 Palos Verdes at Santa Anita Park. The 7yo gelding is trained by Peter Miller and running fresh off his second Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint win in November, he gobbled up his multiple Graded Stakes rivals, finishing up the 1200m in 1:08.89 and winning by four lengths at the wire. The beaten favourite in last year’s Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen will now return as an arguably better horse, hoping to make up for his third last year behind Mind Your Biscuits and X Y Jet. “Last year Roy broke flat out of the gate,” said Brian Trump, racing manager of owners Rockingham Ranch.
“He just didn’t seem to have the same kick as he’s always had. A few things happened, but we aren’t looking to make excuses. When Pete took him back, reevaluated everything and put him into a training programme, he saw that Roy was complacent and needed to be challenged a little bit more. We mixed up the scenery and it made all the difference in the world.” The Jorge Navarro-conditioned X Y Jet, also the 2016 Dubai Golden Shaheen runner-up, has had two races since, an impressive win in Grade 3 June’s Smile Sprint and a lacklustre run two weeks ago in the Sunshine Millions Sprint. “Right now, the plan is still to send X Y Jet back to Dubai,” Trump added.
“He is absolutely healthy and 100%. We will touch base with Jorge in the next week to strategise and make a final decision.” Trump also reported that Rockingham, who also finished second last year with Bernsen co-owned Stormy Liberal in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, is pondering sending horses to Meydan during the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the future. “We absolutely would consider running horses in the carnival,” he concluded. “We have been trying to figure out the logistics of it for a few years now, as in who will go and stay with the horses, which of our horses are the right fit, etc.” Stormy Liberal is confirmed as pointing toward this year’s Al Quoz Sprint.