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Mishriff mission to give Thady Gosden dream start

As dream starts to a new career go, winning the Dubai Sheema Classic with Mishriff would be hard to beat for Thady Gosden.

A regular presence on racecourses in recent years representing his father John, he now shares the British licence at Clarehaven Stables in Newmarket.

The team enjoyed a first winner on a joint ticket at Lingfield on Friday -and while Mishriff runs solely in Gosden senior’s name in Dubai, it is the younger man who has been overseeing preparations at Meydan.

“He takes everything in his stride,” he said, of Mishriff.

“He travelled very well to Saudi and enjoyed the training out there, and it’s been the same here.

“I think he likes the routine of coming out on to the track, doing a lap and going back in. It’s nothing too stressful at all.

“He’s still holding his condition well from all the travelling. Obviously its a pretty long way there and back, and then a month later come back out here, but he’s taken it all very well so far – we’ll find out on Saturday.”

As well as winning connections a fortune, Mishriff proved his versatility in the Saudi Cup on dirt but now steps up in trip and goes back on the turf.

Thady Gosden speaks to the press in Dubai
Thady Gosden speaks to the press in Dubai (Dubai Racing Club/Marthea Kelley)

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“He broke well, and David (Egan) gave him a brilliant ride (in Saudi),” said Gosden.

“Obviously the American horses, including Charlatan, had a lot of early speed so he knew he had to be up there with them and if he got away in the straight, he might be tough to catch. David rode him perfectly, and the horse showed a lot of class.

“He has plenty of size and scope about him as well and he’s really matured well into a four-year-old – he’s definitely gone the right way from three.

“The thought process was that we’ll always be running on turf back in the UK – it’s a mile-and-a-half race, and depending on how he runs that will decide his road map for the rest of the year and which races to target.”

David Egan handled the pressure well in the Saudi Cup
David Egan handled the pressure well in the Saudi Cup (Bill Selwyn/PA)

Of Egan, who missed a couple of big-race rides on Mishriff last year through suspension and Covid protocols, Gosden said: “He’s very cool, calm and collected all the time.

“He thinks everything through thoroughly – he’s a brilliant jockey.”

While predicting not much will change at Clarehaven, the 25-year-old does admit to a sense of anticipation.

“Its very exciting,” he said.

“We’re lucky at home – we have a wonderful team there, who work incredibly hard, so hopefully things will go in the right direction, but we’ll find out! Things obviously won’t change very much.”

Chief opponent to Mishriff, according to the betting at least, is Aidan O’Brien’s Mogul, another to have won a big international race – in Hong Kong.

O’Brien has never made any secret of the regard in which he holds Mogul, and this could be the year he really delivers.

“Obviously this will be his first run of the season, but he ran in the middle of December in Hong Kong – he came out of that race very well and he seems to be in good form,” said O’Brien.

“He is a horse that likes nice ground, and a flat track seems to suit him. The ground is always beautiful in Meydan, and it’s a great track.

“We think Mogul is ready to start for the season. He is a very solid horse who has a lot of experience of travelling – and he seems to thrive from that really.

“But we are never under any illusions that it is always very competitive racing out there and there are very highly-rated horses competing in these races.”

Mogul takes in his surroundings at Meydan
Mogul takes in his surroundings at Meydan (Erika Ramussen/Dubai Racing Club)

Charlie Appleby runs two in Walton Street and Star Safari, and it is the former who carries his main hopes.

Appleby told www.godolphin.com: “Walton Street goes into this on the back of a very good trial in the Dubai City Of Gold, when he repeated his track record time.

“He has to improve again to be competitive at this level, but ticks a lot of boxes in terms of home advantage.”

Saeed bin Suroor runs Dubai Future, the mount of Frankie Dettori – and while he has been consistent this season, he has three lengths to find with Walton Street.

“He’s a tough horse, always tries his best and he’s in good form, always runs well in Dubai,” said Bin Suroor.

“The trip will suit him, Frankie Dettori will ride. It won’t be an easy race, but we’re looking for a good run from him.”

Andrew Balding runs St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco, while Oisin Murphy rides the Japanese filly Loves Only You. Arima Kinen winner Chrono Genesis is another leading hope.

Egan counting down the hours to Mishriff in Sheema Classic

David Egan has hailed Mishriff’s versatility as the four-year-old prepares to tackle 12 furlongs for the first time in Saturday’s Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.

The four-year-old has made his second trip to the Middle East in just over a month for the Group One feature, having landed just short of £7.3million when winning the Saudi Cup – the world’s most valuable race – in Riyadh last month.

That was his second visit to Riyadh, having finished second in the Saudi Derby last February, while he achieved Group One gold in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in the summer before adding a Deauville Group Two to his haul.

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Egan believes Mishriff’s ability to travel is testament to the strong constitution of John Gosden’s charge.

He said on Tuesday: “It’s fantastic to be connected with such a versatile, top-class horse. I saw him out on the track today, he looks well and hopefully he can do the business on Saturday.

“Mr Gosden (said) ever since he’s been back to Newmarket, he’s been full of beans and raring to go again, so they decided to make the trip back out to Meydan and I get to sit on him tomorrow, so I can kind of gauge where he’s at in comparison to Riyadh, but everything’s looking good so far.

“It’s not easy (to travel). He did all his intense training in the snow in Newmarket and it’s not easy to do, to be able to acclimatise him so quickly and turn him around to win the richest race in the world. It’s a hard thing to do and it just shows you what a versatile horse he is.

“Every time he’s run, he’s travelled. I know he went to Ascot and Newmarket (last year), but he went to France twice, to Riyadh twice and now on to Meydan, so it’s a credit to the horse and Mr Gosden’s team.”

Mishriff’s thrilling Saudi Cup win from American ace Charlatan came over nine furlongs on dirt in Riyadh, but he faces a totally different test at Meydan, running over a mile and a half on turf.

While the Prince Faisal-owned Make Believe colt is obviously no stranger to turf, he has yet to run over further than an extended 10 furlongs – but Egan thinks victory this weekend could open more avenues, including a possible crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the autumn.

He said: “It’s a lot of money (on Saturday) but it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s going to be a long season for Mishriff now. I’m sure going for the Sheema Classic rather than the Dubai World Cup was something Prince Faisal and Mr Gosden thought a lot about before deciding which race to go for.

“Obviously they have in the back of their minds how he’s going to be campaigned for this season, whether he sticks to a mile and a quarter or even drops back in trip or steps up to the mile and a half.

“If things all go well on Saturday, there’s a lot of options – maybe even the Arc at the end of the year could be the main target, but we’ll get Saturday out of the way first.”

Mishriff is the highlight of five rides for Egan at Meydan, with the jockey having picked up a fine spare aboard Joseph O’Brien’s Prix de la Foret third Speak In Colours in the Al Quoz Sprint.

Egan added: “I’m a lucky lad, I’ve got some good rides and hopefully they can all run a good race.”

Mishriff to step up for Sheema Classic challenge

Mishriff is to move up to a mile and a half for the first time in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan this month.

Winner of the world’s most valuable race, the Saudi Cup, on dirt last month, Mishriff will be reverting back to turf for the $6million prize.

It had been thought if Mishriff did return to the Middle East it would be for the Dubai World Cup on the same card, but connections have opted for the longer race rather than sticking to a mile and a quarter.

The John Gosden-trained colt is reported to have taken his trip to Saudi Arabia very well, and it is all systems go for the Sheema Classic on March 27.

“John always had in the back of his mind trying him over a mile and a half at the end of this year,” said owner Prince Faisal’s racing manager Ted Voute.

“I think the opportunity presented itself. He asked the Prince to consider running him, and the Prince basically left it up to John.

“It’s exciting and something to look forward at the end of the month.

“John has won that race a couple of times, and he’s obviously pretty good at getting a horse ready for it.”

What happens there could influence Mishriff’s plans for the rest of the year.

“He hasn’t got many races to go for before Royal Ascot. John thought he can have quite a big breather after this race,” Voute added.

“We might change some of the races we go for, depending on the outcome of Dubai.”