DUBAI: He’s about to be crowned Uruguay Champion Trainer for a fourth time and he’s just won one of the biggest races in South America, but Antonio Cintra isn’t stopping there.
Having first tasted success in Dubai back in 2006, when Heart Alone won the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint, Cintra returned last season and picked up another win when El Patriota won the Al Bastakiya Trial at Meydan Racecourse.
A former champion trainer in his native Brazil before moving to Uruguay, Cintra currently has three horses based in Dubai.
El Patriota has returned, as have Group 2 Maktoum Challenge Round 2 third Ajuste Fiscal and sprinter Upper Class, who was unbeaten in South America before heading to the Middle East.
The trio spent the summer in the UK, under the care of trainer Ismail Mohammed, before returning to Dubai, where their handler now has a permanent license, meaning he can run horses at all five UAE tracks.
“After the World Cup I was thinking about the future for them and the owners wanted to plan for Dubai again,” Cintra said. “I thought that keeping them in the same hemisphere would be good for them and I think we did the best for them; they are looking good, well. I changed to a permanent import license just to get some more options for them to race. I’d like to thank Dubai Racing Club and also trainer Erwan Charpy who has made us feel very welcome at Green Stables.”
El Patriota, who finished third in the Listed Al Bastakiya after his win, could switch to turf this season, with his trainer eyeing the Carnival’s staying contests.
“Now he’s four years old and I’m planning for the long distance races on turf with him. The trainer in England told me that he has been training well on turf and so he could have a good season in that kind of race.”
Cintra anticipates that the three current Dubai residents will run first in December, by which time they will have been joined by five more from his base in Uruguay. They include Aero Trem, winner of the Grade 1 Longines Gran Premio Latinoamericano at Maronas last month.
“Aero Trem is coming to Dubai at the beginning of December. If he has a good trip then maybe he can run in the Maktoum Challenge (Round 1 on Jan. 13). We are waiting for an invitation for the Saudi Cup, and after Saudi, maybe the Dubai World Cup.”
Aero Trem will be joined on the flight by three-year-old Perfect Love, who recently finished fourth in the Gran Premio Nacional (Uruguay Derby).
“He’s a good horse but the distance of the derby over 2500m was too far for him. In Dubai he can start at a mile and then the (Group 2, UAE) derby is 1900m, which is much better for him.”
Cintra will also bring over three-year-old filly Nopaya Naa, a daughter of Trinniberg, who has plenty of potential targets.
“When I saw the index of races, I noticed that there are four races for the three-year-old sprinters. She’s a five-time winner in Uruguay, she’s a very good sprinter and I hope she can run very well in these kind of races.”
Nopaya Naa was beaten in the Grade 1 Gran Premio Polla de Potrancas in September by Dama De Ferro, who will join her on the trip.
“Dama De Ferro is a good filly who has three wins, including the 1000 Guineas in Uruguay,” said Cintra, who will welcome back jockey Vagner Leal to ride his horses. “She’s a small, thin filly and I’m a bit worried about that, but if she travels well then she can run well here.”
The fifth horse has less experience than his stablemates, but is clearly exciting his trainer.
“I’m also bringing another three year old, Quality Boone, who has just one win from one start but he’s a very good colt.”
With an eight-strong team and plenty of confidence behind him, it surely won’t be long before Cintra celebrates another winner in the UAE.