Dubai World Cup: Channel Maker sends warning shot to odd-on favourite Mishriff

Dubai - The seven-year-old English Channel gelding is the mount of Joel Rosario.

By James Jose

Published: Fri 26 Mar 2021, 10:43 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 3:12 PM

The focus will be, and quite rightly so too, on the $12 million Dubai World Cup, but an interesting battle is brewing in the Group 1 $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic, the penultimate contest on the nine-race card on Dubai World Cup night.

The all-conquering Mishriff, this year’s Saudi Cup winner, is the odd-on favourite for the 12-furlong affair on turf, but Channel Maker, saddled by veteran William Mott, who trained the inaugural Dubai World Cup winner Cigar in 1996, is by no means a push-over.

Assistant trainer Neil Poznansky began the banter heading into the 2410-metre race.

“He’s going to have to take us on,” Poznansky said at the Meydan Racecourse on Friday morning, when asked on the strategy to taking on Mishriff.

“We are going to run our race and if he’s going to try and beat us, he will have to run,” he added, matter-of-factly.

Channel Maker, who finished second in the $1 million Neom Turf Cup on Saudi Cup night, last month, did his last bit of trackwork on Friday morning, galloping easily around the dirt track of the Meydan Racecourse.

"He hasn’t missed a beat, if anything he’s better than he was in Saudi Arabia,” said Poznansky, who rode him in the morning.

“He’s a lot of fun. He’s always bright and alert and is always looking at stuff. Every day is a new day with him. He keeps things interesting,” added Poznansky, a retired former champion apprentice jockey in the United States and Canada.

Channel Maker, the seven-year-old English Channel gelding, is the mount of Joel Rosario, who won the 2013 Dubai World Cup onboard Animal Kingdom. Rosario, who has ridden a total of 20 races on Dubai World Cup night, also won the Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2017 and 2018 with Mind Your Biscuits. He has only ridden once in the Dubai Sheema Classic, when finishing 12th with Champ Pegasus in 2011.

Meanwhile, Mishriff, the mount of 21-year-old David Egan, is raring to go after reverting to turf following his successful excursion on dirt, in Riyadh.

"We look forward to tomorrow now," said Thady Gosden, who shares a training licence with his father John in Britain.

"As I said before he’s obviously been to Saudi and back and taken the travelling well. He’s a straightforward horse and, given he went from the cold at home to Saudi and then came back to the cold, he has taken it all very well,” he added.

Gosden said the Sheema Classic will provide the pointer to the rest of Mishriff’s campaign this season.

"He’s very versatile and obviously 2400m tomorrow (Saturday) will be different but it’s a lovely galloping track at Meydan and the Dubai Sheema Classic will give us a pointer of where to go for the rest of the season. He relaxes well in a race, even though he has a lot of natural speed," Gosden said.

Prior to the Sheema Classic, 12 runners will take to the gates for the Group 1 $4 million Dubai Turf across nine furlongs.

Lord North, who is the highest-rated horse with an official rating of 123, is the favourite and will be the mount of famed Italian jockey Frankie Dettori.

Eqtiraan and Zaihom, owned by Shadwell, too are strong contenders.

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

More news from Horse Racing