Crossed Batton falls at the first in bid for Derby victory

Crossed Batton will skip the Derby and head straight for Royal Ascot next month.
Updated 18 May 2018
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Crossed Batton falls at the first in bid for Derby victory

  • Colt will not take part in the Derby and run in Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot instead.
  • Crossed Batton finished seventh of the nine runners in the Dante Stakes at York.

Saudi Arabian dreams of a Derby runner are over for another year after Crossed Baton failed to pass his entrance exam in the Dante Stakes at York.
Crossed Baton had no answer to the professional performance of stablemate Roaring Lion in the key Derby trial in the north of England.
After running keenly in the opening stages of the ten-furlong Group 2 contest, his tank emptied in a sprint to the winning post and he finished seventh of the nine runners.
Owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, the colt has an automatic entry to the Derby at Epsom on June 2 courtesy of his win at Epsom last month but he will skip the race and head to next month’s Royal Ascot meeting. 
“He didn’t quite finish his race out and did not run his race,” trainer John Gosden said.
“He is better than that but he is not as good as the winner.
“Frankie Dettori said that the race was not quite run to suit him. I was at him quite early in the year.
“We’ll freshen up, and run him in the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot."
Godolphin’s inexperienced Nordic Lights fared slightly better on his third career start to finish fifth under William Buick, and the son of French Classic winner Intello could also be aimed at the royal meeting.
“I was very happy with him,” trainer Charlie Appleby said.  
“We came in to it thinking it was a big ask for him. They went steady up front, he got in to a nice rhythm and he learnt plenty. He will be a nice horse going forward. We might look at something like the Tercentenary at Royal Ascot or the King Edward.”
If Saudi Arabian hopes were dashed, Dubai still has representatives engaged.

Appleby still has Craven winner Masar in the world’s most significant race, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, has the talented Dee Ex Bee entered. The Aga Khan, the Nizari Ismailis’ Imam, who has won the Derby five times with Shergar, Shahrastani, Kahyasi, Sinndar and Harzand, is likely to run Hazapour, the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner.


Godolphin happy with Thunder Snow ahead of Dubai World Cup defense

Updated 25 March 2019
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Godolphin happy with Thunder Snow ahead of Dubai World Cup defense

  • Five-year old bidding to become first horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups.
  • $12 million race takes place at Meydan on Saturday.

LONDON: Thunder Snow is preparing well as he bids to become the first horse to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups, according to Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
The five-year-old memorably won the showcase $12 million race at Meydan by five and three-quarter lengths, winning in a track record time last year. He returned to the track on Super Saturday two weeks ago, finishing second in the Group 1 Al-Maktoum Challenge Round Three.
And Godolphin are expecting big things from him in the famous race. Bin Suroor, the most successful handler in the history of the 2000m dirt feature with eight winners to his name, is feeling confident.
“He did his final serious piece of work on Saturday and went very well indeed,” the Godolphin trainer said. “He needed his Super Saturday outing — his first run since November — badly and has come on a lot for it. We expect him to run a big race under conditions we know suit him, but obviously it is a good race.”
Thunder Snow has already made history as the only horse to win both the Group 2 UAE Derby and Group 1 Dubai World Cup, but if he is to win this Saturday then he will be revered for years to come.
One of his big rivals in the race will be Yoshida. Trained by Bill Mott he arrived in Dubai on March 19 in preparation for the cash-rich race. The Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry landed in the Emirate off a sixth-place finish in the inaugural Group 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
He won the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, as well as the prestigious Woodward at Saratoga last year and Riley Mott, assistant to his father Bob, said Yoshida is looking good ahead of the big race.
“He’s settled in really well,” he said. “He traveled great and we’re very happy with him. The facilities here are top class. This is my seventh time over here and we’re treated very well.”
Yoshida went out just after 7:00 a.m. in Monday to stretch his legs over the famous dirt track.
“He just had a routine gallop this morning and we let him stand in the gate. Nothing too serious,” Mott said.
Jose Ortiz, who has piloted Yoshida though his last two starts and was aboard for the Grade 1 score at Churchill Downs, will make his first appearance in Dubai. Mott said he expects Ortiz, who guided Yoshida to a closing fourth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will have plenty of options in the 2000m race.
“It sounds like there’s a lot of pace from the local horses, but we have a horse that’s pretty versatile in the way he runs,” Mott said. “He’s able to adapt to the pace scenario. It’s just a matter of how the race develops in front of him.”