I’ve had a really enjoyable week out here as I’ve been riding Thunder Snow, who is our big hope for the Carnival.
It’s been a pleasure to be aboard him. He’s getting ready to defend his title in the Dubai World Cup next month, probably with a prep run in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 beforehand.
He’s in great order and it’s a big responsibility looking after a horse like him. Even with all the experience I have I’m always concerned about what might happen. Every step he takes you want it to be a solid, sound one and so far, please God, everything has been good.
He did his first piece of proper work the other day and he was very good; he really worked well. He’s got everything you want in a horse: he’s got a good mind, he’s correct, he’s got a lot of speed and, of course, he’s got loads of talent and class.
We had a decent time of things here last week with a couple of winners, so hopefully we can do the same this time around on what looks a tricky card:
3.05 Meydan – Speedo Boy
Our lad Red Galileo ran a good race first time up here when he had a lot of use made of him. However, I prefer the look of Speedo Boy who has taken well to things out here in Dubai. He had a sighter here a couple of weeks ago and these conditions should suit him a lot better. I hope Red Galileo runs well but I couldn’t be too sure about his chances.
3.40 Meydan – Walking Thunder
How impressive was he when he won the trial for this race a couple of weeks ago? We had gone into the race with high hopes for Royal Marine but aware of rumours about how good Walking Thunder was, and he was brilliant. If the same horse turns up this week then I can’t see him getting beaten – he was streets ahead of the others the last day. Our horse Estihdaaf needs blinkers, rather than a visor, and I’m not sure he’s going to be good enough. If there’s going to be an upset then I’d be looking at Fintas. I’m good friends with his trainer Richard Hughes and played golf with him the other day, and he loves this horse. I could see him running well, but it’s going to be very tough to beat Walking Thunder.
4.15 Meydan – Desert Fire
I think this race is between our lad and Nordic Light, who Charlie Appleby’s boys think is there best chance of a winner. Desert Fire is in great order and is progressing with his races. He won well here last time and is sure to improve for that as well.
5.25 Meydan – Top Score
I’ve said before how much I love this little horse and he’s in great order, so he is. My main worry about him for this race is he’s carrying a lot of weight and he’s only a little horse. That said, Christophe Soumillon won’t have to carry a lot of lead in his saddle so at least it’s not dead weight on his back and I can guarantee you one thing about this horse – he’s as tough as nails. He’s so genuine and only ever wants to please you. He’s our best chance.