'Cool dude' Holding Gold has what it takes to produce a classic

Cool dude Holding Gold has what it takes to produce a classic
Randi Melton, Mark Casse's assistant, addresses the press in Dubai on Monday.

Dubai - Randi Melton, Casse's assistant, admits that Holding Gold wasn't really on their mind when they first thought of fighting for the Al Quoz Sprint glory

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 26 Mar 2018, 9:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 26 Mar 2018, 11:14 PM

Legendary trainer Mark Casse is ready to make his first foray into the Dubai World Cup by unleashing Holding Gold on the rivals in the Al Quoz Sprint.
But Randi Melton, Casse's assistant, admitted on Monday that Holding Gold wasn't really on their mind when they first thought of fighting for the Al Quoz Sprint glory.
It was rather World Approval, the Breeders Cup winner, which they considered initially for the Dubai battle.
"At first we were thinking about World Approval. But, you know, even though he won the Breeders Cup, he needed to win more convincingly. Also it's a long trip to Dubai. So eventually, we picked Holding Gold. He has been doing really good in recent times. His laid-back demeanor played a role in him being picked for the race here," said Melton who played a big role in the development of world-class horses like Tepin and Classic Empire.
And, Holding Gold, according to Melton, has what it takes to produce a classic on Saturday.
"He's a cool dude. Everyone in our barn calls him that," she smiled.
Melton then raved about the other qualities of the 'cool dude'.
"I'm impressed with the level of his intelligence, his laid-back demeanor, and his ability to handle shipping because not many horses can handle that. And that gives you as much confidence as you can have going into a race. It's almost scary what a nice disposition he has," she said.
Remarkably, Casse's team hasn't brought their regular rider to Dubai. But Carlos Rojas, the Dubai-based exercise rider, is doing a fantastic job with Holding Gold.
"Carlos is an extraordinary rider and so we are not worried about it at all. He gets along great with the horse," she said.
"He (Holding Gold) was good at training. We will continue to do some nice easy jogs for the last few days before the race on the smaller tracks.
"Yes, the track is here different than the ones in North America, but I don't think it matters to him at all. He is doing well on the track here. In America, we do a mile and a half, here we are just galloping a mile. He is adjusting well to the environment."
Melton believes luck was not on Holding Gold's side at the Breeders Cup where he finished seventh.
"You get frustrated. On the turf you get lucky sometimes and sometimes you don't have luck on your side at all. We were not very lucky that day," she said.
"He still ran a tremendous race. And being able to handle that kind of pressure played a role in coming here as well."
Now before coming to Dubai, Casse's team sought advice from American trainers who had competed here in the past.
"Yes, we did speak to them," Melton admitted.
"All the trainers who have come here before, Mark knows everybody and everybody gets along well so we have got information on what to expect and some of the dos and don'ts."
So what were the dos?
"Do enjoy yourself, yes that's what they said and that's the big one," she said.
"So, we are enjoying ourselves and the horse is really loving it here!"

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