Stidham can't wait for Mystic Guide to go high at Meydan

Mystic Guide, trained by Michael Stidham, during morning trackwork at Meydan. (Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen)
Mystic Guide, trained by Michael Stidham, during morning trackwork at Meydan. (Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen)

Dubai - Stidham saddles Mystic Guide, one of the trio of Godolphin's runners in the main Dubai World Cup race

By James Jose

Published: Thu 25 Mar 2021, 10:26 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Mar 2021, 10:39 PM

American trainer Michael Stidham said that he had always dreamt of being a part of the prestigious Dubai World Cup and was pretty chuffed to finally be here at Meydan for the big night.

Stidham saddles Mystic Guide, one of the trio of Godolphin’s runners in the main Dubai World Cup race, is the highest-rated horse with an official rating 119 and is a fancied contender in the $12 million showpiece.

And he is ever so very grateful to Godolphin and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for the opportunity to have a runner on World Cup night.

“This is my fifth year of training for Godolphin and the quality of horses there is just superb, it’s amazing and it is a wonderful opportunity and I’m honoured to get that opportunity,” Stidham said at the Meydan Racecourse on Thursday morning.

“Obviously, the Breeders’ Cup is on the world stage as this is but, like I say, training for Godolphin and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, being here for the 25th anniversary, has a little special flavour to it and like I say, it is an amazing thing to be here and just really, really happy that I could be the one that brings the horse over.”

“I’ve been training for over 40 years and watching this for 24 years, and always being impressed and amazed by the whole presentation over here and the prestige of the race, and always dreaming that one day I might have a horse that would come, and the day has come. It is just very gratifying to be here.” he added.

It has been a long-haul sojourn from across the Atlantic but Stidham said that Mystic Guide, the four-year-old Ghostzapper colt, travelled well.

“It is a long trip and as a trainer, you always worry about all the things that can go wrong and so far, it’s been really good. The horse has come over here and he really seems like he’s flourishing and thriving on everything that’s going on. The weather is great, the accommodations are amazing, so he’s doing fantastic,” Stidham revealed;.

Stidham also said that they had pondered bringing another one of their stars, Maxfield, to Meydan, but Mystic Guide found his way in.

“Obviously, being owned by Godolphin, this was a race that was in the back of our minds but obviously, there are other horses owned by Godolphin that were possible for the race, one of those being Maxfield. We have weekly phone conversations with Jimmy Bell (Godolphin America president) and Jimmy and I and Hilary Pridham, my assistant, we sit down, and we discuss all the possibilities. And after he ran well in Oaklawn (Park), certainly we were considering this race but there was a chance that Maxfield might be the one that was going to come and weren’t going to send them both. Then, all of a sudden, Maxfield turned out to go to Santa Anita and it left the door open and everything just kind of fell into place. Mystic Guide ran so well, looked like an obvious candidate for this race and here we are,” Stidham said of the multiple Group-winning raider.

And Stidham said it is an honour and privilege to be here and is itching to get on the racetrack with Mystic Guide.

“As I said, it’s an honour and a privilege to be here and especially training a horse for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, on the 25th anniversary. It could not be better and just can’t wait to get on the racetrack,” he signed off.

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