Capezzano fires up ahead of inaugural Saudi Cup, 25th renewal of Dubai World Cup
Salem bin Ghadayer's charge shows his class in winning the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes
It was almost as if he had never left the scene. Capezzano put aside the debacle at last year's $12 million Dubai World Cup in some style, with an astonishing run on his comeback to race action.
After last season's Dubai World Cup, where he finished a disappointing 12th, the six-year-old son of Bernardini, went away for almost a year to only come back stronger.
Salem bin Ghadayer's charge served up a sizzling show in the seventh race meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival to remind each and every one of his class.
And to do so with a whopping seven-length victory over Satish Seemar's Secret Ambition, only reinforced the point that Capezzano would be a real threat at the inaugural Saudi Cup and this year's silver jubilee renewal of the Dubai World Cup.
Capezzano breathed fire in the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes to hurtle to a great victory and a new stakes record time of 1:36.23 seconds, to boot. The previous record by North America, last year's Dubai World Cup contender, had stood at 1:36.51 seconds, which was set in 2017.
Muntazah, who holds the track record of 1:34.99 seconds set last year, was a non-runner and so was Heavy Metal. But that doesn't take anything away from Capezzano's super show.
Following on from this performance Emirati handler Salem bin Ghadayer confirmed that his ward will have a crack at the Saudi Cup and the $12 million showpiece of the Dubai World Cup, once more.
Truth be told, it perhaps has been some meticulous planning by bin Ghadayer. Since that fateful night, the partially blind former endurance rider had one eye firmly on the Saudi Cup and the Dubai World Cup. Hence, it comes as no surprise that bin Ghadayer wrapped his ward in cotton wool for most of the year before unleashing him on Thursday night.
"We saved him this year since we heard about the Saudi race and for the Dubai World Cup," revealed bin Ghadayer.
The Emirati was a bit tense about how Capezzano would fare on his first run since the hiatus. But Capezzano put all those apprehensions, and some more, to rest, with a scintillating performance, that was one for the ages.
"Always his first time out, he doesn't perform well," bin Ghadayer said.
"But we believe in this horse and his ability. We wanted to wait until this race. I know it's just two weeks until the Saudi Cup, but we needed the race for his confidence and thank God he performed well. He showed his ability. We will go to the Saudi race and then Dubai) World Cup night," the trainer said, giving his seal of approval for the Sultan Ali-owned horse.
Meanwhile, jockey Mickael Barzalona was delighted with how Capezzano coped with his run on return.
"I'm very pleased with the way Capezzano ran today," said Barzalona.
"We expected a big run from and it was good for him to see the track before the big races. He ran a big race and should have plenty left in the tank. We are pretty happy with the way he is handling it before the race. He keeps improving. I'm pretty sure this will give him a lot of confidence," he added.
And the 28-year-old Frenchman is hoping for a repeat in Saudi Arabia.
"Now, he will fly over there (to Saudi Arabia) and the track will suit him over there, as well. Hopefully he runs a big race," hoped Barzalona.
The Saudi Cup takes place at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh on February 29, while the 25th renewal of the Dubai World Cup will be held at Meydan on March 28.
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