Racer Forever (right): out to repeat last year's Carnival successPICTURE: Martin Lynch
Grade 2 winner Gayego set to join Godolphin
UAE: GODOLPHIN are stocking up for the Dubai Carnival, which starts at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday January 15.
Gayego, winner of the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby last year when he was a major fancy for the Kentucky Derby, is about to fly to Dubai to join Sheikh Mohammed's team. Godolphin are also believed to have acquired at least two leading South American three-year-olds with an eye on the UAE Classics.
Gayego, formerly trained by Paulo Lobo, is a likely type for the Group 1 Golden Shaheen on World Cup night.
Sheikh Hamdan's US-based trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who saddled Invasor to win the World Cup in 2007, is looking after the four-year-old in Florida before his move to the Gulf.
"I'm very proud to be part of the Sheikh's racing operation," McLaughlin told the Blood-Horse. "I'm happy to help out wherever I can. It's not a burden at all. Gayego is a very nice horse; he went very well the other day."
McLaughlin himself islikely to be represented in Dubai by Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Albertus Maximus, bought by Sheikh Hamdan with an eye on the Godolphin Mile or the World Cup itself.
Godolphin swept up the UAE fillies' Classics last year with ex-Chilean Cocoa Beach, later a dual Grade 1 winner in America and runner-up to the brilliant Zenyatta at the Breeders' Cup.
Kiaran McLaughlin: babysittingPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
This year's new wave of South American imports may include Argentine Derby winner Tecla Shiner and Chilean sensation Sos Brillante.
Promisingthree-year-old filly Sos Brillante, who is in full training, will aim to follow in the footsteps of her compatriot Cocoa Beach in the fillies' Classics. Tecla Shiner, on the other hand, is still in the USA pending shipment to Dubai and is likely to target a later start in the Carnival with the UAE Derby as the primary target.
Closer to home, the John Gosden-trained Racer Forever, a winner at the 2008 carnival, will be back again.
The six-year-old raced three times at Nad Al Sheba last season, winning a 7f turf handicap. "Racer Forever is our only confirmed runner so far, but we are looking at bringing a couple of others over, subject to owner approval," said Gosden.
"He likes it out there and has had a good year for us. He's owned by Mohammed Obaida, who livesin Dubai and has been a strong supporter of racing for many years now."