Dubai World Cup Breakfast With The Stars
Dubai has never claimed the 'Breakfast With The Stars' concept as its own, but it has taken a tried and tested formula to another level in its presentation. Thursday morning at Meydan sets the scene perfectly for G1 Dubai World Cup day, 48 hours later.
Close on 1,500 race fans hit the track just after 6am to savour a little of the pre-race atmosphere. This year, 2014 G1 Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome was the star most had come to see, but there were plenty of other contenders on show.
There are 11 countries represented at this most international of meetings, and horsemen, press and TV crews from all parts took breakfast as they watched the horses and listened to scores of interviews.
As the harsh rays of early sunrise beat down, a phalanx of royal blue appeared in the distance. Team Godolphin had arrived. Headed by John Ferguson, the chief executive, together with trainers Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby, plus jockey William Buick, Dubai's global stable came to talk to media, attend press conferences, as well as greet their fans.
Buick, who won last year's Dubai World Cup aboard Prince Bishop, looked relaxed and ready for "my best book of rides so far on World Cup night." At a mid-morning press conference, he declared: "Tryster (G1 Dubai Turf) is a strong chance because he can handle all conditions."
Uppermost in the jockey's mind, however, must be his ride on Godolphin's Frosted in the world's richest horse race. Starting from gate 9, he will have plenty of room out wide, provided California Chrome takes a smooth, trouble-free route to the inside from gate 11.
"I imagine California Chrome will go forward. We'll see after 100 metres," Buick said. "But I have a plan A and a Plan B to cover the two most likely scenarios," the jockey added.
"The Dubai World Cup is the richest race in the world, and naturally it attracts very good horses. It's a tough race. You wouldn't expect anything else," he pointed out.
There is currently important racing taking place in Australia, with The Championships approaching in Sydney, while serious Flat racing is soon to start in Europe. Yet, key racing figures have come to regard this day in Dubai as unmissable.
Rob Heathcote, the leading Brisbane trainer, has shipped in the eight-year-old Australian gelding Buffering to contest the G1 Al Quoz Sprint. The affable Heathcote has done a great job with his veteran sprinter, who boasts a fine record: 13 wins from 44 starts.
The trainer and his owners were out in force at Breakfast With The Stars, sporting Black and Blue baseball caps, the colours Buffering carries on raceday. "It's fantastic to be here, and we expect him to run a big race," Heathcote said.