Future looks bright as Azure Coast,
 Reznikova brace for Meydan battle

Azure Coast, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas six weeks ago, has been able to rebuild to peak fitness in good time for the UAE Derby

By Jacquie Doyle, Special to Khaleej Times

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Azure Coast is the top contender for the UAE Derby. (Dubai Racing Club)
Azure Coast is the top contender for the UAE Derby. (Dubai Racing Club)

Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 1:04 AM

A holiday on the Azure Coast could be just the present for Liliia Reznikova, the diminutive young woman who is in sole charge of training and caring for three horses, two of which have run at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting.

All the jobs, from dishing up their early morning breakfasts, cleaning out the stables, riding all three during morning training, to shampooing, picking grass and putting them to bed at night, Liliia is responsible for each and every duty.

It’s not her cup of tea to lay down in the mornings or for an excursion to see the delights of Dubai. In fact, despite having landed in Dubai on 26th October 2021, she has only travelled as far as her apartment and the grocery shop, a mere half a mile from the barn, that is home to her beloved horses. The degree of trust that Kazakov Vladimir (owner) and Pavel Vashenka (trainer) have placed in the tough, straight talking Liliia becomes crystal clear as I chat over a rare [for her] coffee break in The Meydan Hotel.

It is a trust that has already reaped its rewards here in the shape of two Dubai World Cup Carnival winners and almost $112,000 in win and place money. Furthermore, only two of the three horses were able to run, making this an even bigger achievement.

I believe it is highly probable that we will see more of these colours sported here in Dubai next season, the overall plan is to bring a bigger string of horses and arrive earlier than before to allow for more time to settle in before they hit the racetrack.

After five months in Dubai, Liliia has impressed all those who watch her every day with her dedication, clear head and take-no-prisoners attitude towards life and her job.

Liliia demands her three horses be provided with the best of everything and no one is going to get in her way while she does so. She is admired by her professional counterparts for her thoroughness and the long hours she puts in, every hour with a big smile on her face.

Liliia revealed to me how she has managed not just with the physical work but all the finer details that training and running racehorses anywhere entails.

“When I was coming here, I was a little bit nervous, I don’t speak not much English and so much is online which I can’t understand. I don’t have a computer, only a phone and everything [entries, declarations and jockey booking] are online.

“Evita (Correa) in the DRC office helps me to do it all and I have a friend who speaks Russian who helps too. We also have a manager in Spain who takes care of stuff with the Jockey Club [DRC], passports, transportation, entries and anything important, there is always someone to help me.”

While I have been thinking how brave Liliia is, she is quick to remind me that it is a role she is well versed in, having been in the USA with lots of success a while ago.

In fact my daughter, Sophie rode for her connections and had already been singing the praises of both the quality of the horses and the abilities of Liliia.

Azure Coast, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas six weeks ago has been able to re-build to peak fitness in good time for the UAE Derby on Saturday. He is a big, strapping, powerful stamp of a horse and Liliia looks tiny on him, but they make a good combination and his fitness has been honed to perfection.

She had hoped for a wider [higher] gate draw but will have to settle for number 4 and hope that jockey, Antonio Fresu can angle him outside a bit as his preference is to come on the wide of the other runners when he makes that sweeping run for home.

Whatever the big three-year-old accomplishes at Meydan this weekend, a huge future awaits both himself and his devoted custodian.

The author is a former Deby-winning tainer and the month of renowed jockeys, James and Sophie Doyle.

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