Tag Archive for: Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie stars under Buick at Meydan

Hot Rod Charlie put down a serious marker for the Dubai World Cup with a dominant display in the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan.

Third in the Kentucky Derby and runner-up in the Belmont Stakes, William Buick bounced Doug O’Neill’s charge out of the stalls to give him a positive ride.

From a long way out the race only concerned two runners, as Ryan Moore on Al Nefud made sure Hot Rod Charlie did not have things all his own way and matched him stride for stride until the home turn.

But from then on the American challenger gained the upper hand and gradually pulled further and further clear to win by five and a quarter lengths.

With compatriot Life Is Good not certain to travel for the World Cup, Hot Rod Charlie is already second-favourite at a general 3-1.

“I’m so proud of him, it’s been a great journey and I’m hoping there’s more chapters to come,” said O’Neill, who stated beforehand his star was around 70 per cent fit.

“It was a prep race, but I’d have been disappointed if he hadn’t won. We didn’t train him super-hard knowing we had plenty of time to get ready for the World Cup, but to run the way he did – it’s a special night for sure.

“He’s a horse who is loaded with class. It was a strong field and William rode him with a ton of confidence. Next stop is the end of March.”

Buick said: “Doug and the team said he was versatile, and he’s a real joy to ride. He’s very good but very intelligent, too, and listens to the messages you give him.

“He’s had a race, he ran hard but I was very happy with what he did.

“I was confident he’d pick up when I asked as he ran a good race in the Belmont over a mile and a half, sticking on all the way to the line.”

O’Neill and Buick had earlier struck with Get Back Goldie who came from an unpromising position to win the Oud Metha Stakes.

Outpaced as Rudy Trigger set sharp early fractionals, he fairly flew home to beat Little Afrodite by half a length.

There was a turn up in the Jumeirah Classic in which Buick was expected to win on Charlie Appleby’s New Science but he could only finish third behind stablemate Sovereign Prince. Alice Haynes’ Mr Professor split the Appleby duo

James Doyle was on the winner and said: “He won the trial for this race which was a bit of a bunched finish so this was definitely a step forward from that.

“If you took New Science out of the race it was a similar field and I felt he’d be a better horse today than he was in the trial.”

Hypothetical, fourth in the World Cup last year, bounced back from a disappointing return three weeks ago to run out a clear-cut winner of the Firebreak Stakes.

All his best form is over a mile but Mickael Barzalona did not rule out going back up to 10 furlongs on World Cup night once more.

“Now he’s older, he settles better which will give him a better chance of getting the longer trip,” said Barzalona.

The Appleby-trained Creative Force overcame 139-day absence to take Group Two Balanchine and give Buick a treble.

Creative Flair was smartly away from her wide draw and briefly led until Stunning Beauty took over. Buick kept his mount close to the pace before setting sail for home early in the straight.

Cape Verdi scorer Pevensey Bay stayed on from the rear to claim second place without getting in a blow to the three-quarters of a length winner. Dubai Love was a neck away in third.

“I took my time to get over. She’s a forward-going filly and she was racing a little bit fresh and generously. It was her first run for a while, but she’s all heart,” said Buick. “She really deserved that. She’s got some good form in Europe and ran some good races in America towards the end of last year.

“I don’t know if going over to the States will be the plan again this year. I don’t think she’ll get any further than 10 furlongs. She does stay, but has a bit of kick as well. Obviously, it was her first run for a while today and nine furlongs was ideal for her.”

Dettori returns to the saddle at Meydan on Friday

Frankie Dettori is free from quarantine and able to ride at Meydan on Friday.

The Italian tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of last week’s meeting, costing him the ride on impressive winner Real World.

However, he took to Twitter on Thursday to confirm he had completed the required time in quarantine and that he would be returning to action.

He said: “I’d just like to tell you that I’m Covid free after eight days in my room. I can smell the fresh air, the sunshine. It’s been difficult, but we passed through through it.

“It’s been difficult, but I’m in good health and I’m looking forward now.”

American star Hot Rod Charlie is the main equine attraction on the track, in the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge – with William Buick stepping in for the ride.

Among the very best performers on dirt in the States, Doug O’Neill’s star was third in the Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes.

He was actually first past the post in the Grade One Haskell Stakes at Monmouth, but was disqualified for causing interference. He gained compensation in the Pennsylvania Derby before finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

With Charlie Appleby not represented Buick has picked up a very interesting spare.

O’Neil is preparing him for the Dubai World Cup and his assistant trainer Leandro Mora said: “His last piece of work was amazing when he went out alone as we did not want to set him alight.

“The long stretch at Meydan should really suit him and William Buick was very happy when he sat on him.”

Buick said: “He looks great and I was very happy with him; it was the first time I had ridden him, he feels like a class horse and seemed to enjoy the Meydan dirt surface. I am looking forward to riding him in a race.”

Hot Rod Charlie is well clear of his rivals on official ratings and it would be a major surprise should he not win.

Creative Flair (left, blue) was a Listed winner at Newbury in the summer
Creative Flair (left, blue) was a Listed winner at Newbury in the summer (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

The highlight on Turf is the Group Two Balanchine in which Godolphin field six of the 10 runners.

Buick rides Appleby’s Creative Flair, a Listed winner at Newbury in June who had her last two runs in America.

James Doyle partners stablemate Wedding Dance, third in the Cape Verdi on her Dubai debut.

“Creative Flair has enjoyed a nice break since running out in America. Her preparation has gone well and, if she reproduces the best of her European form, it will make her a big player,” said Appleby.

“Wedding Dance has definitely come forward from the Cape Verdi, when it looked as though a step up to this trip could potentially produce more improvement. If that proves to be the case, she is going to be very competitive again.”

Dettori rides Saeed bin Suroor’s Soft Whisper, last year’s UAE 1000 Guineas winner but last of 10 on her return in the Cape Verdi.

Bin Suroor said: “We have been disappointed with Soft Whisper so far this season in Dubai. She looks to have improved slightly since her first outing of the year in the Cape Verdi but doesn’t show a great deal in the mornings. Hopefully she can bounce back.”

Bin Suroor also runs Dubai Love, Last Look and Stunning Beauty.

The clash between Appleby’s New Science and Bin Suroor’s Island Falcon in the Jumeirah Classic is another race of interest.