Baffert keeping eye on prize as World Cup nears for Arrogate
Bob Baffert admitted he is taking nothing for granted with Dubai World Cup favourite Arrogate, who is set to add special lustre to proceedings at Meydan on Saturday night.
Having claimed the inaugural Pegasus World Cup and Breeders' Cup Classic on his last two starts, the world's top-rated racehorse is on the trail of a unique Cup treble, with a maximum of 13 rivals - but none from Britain or Ireland - standing in his way following Monday's declaration stage for the $10 million Emirates-sponsored spectacular.
Arrogate, general 1-3 favourite for a race Baffert has won twice before with Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001) when staged at Nad Al Sheba, has started to acclimatise following his journey from California.
"He's handling everything really well and looks good to me," the trainer said on Monday. "Because I brought this great horse over here and I don't want to mess it up. It's still a horse race, and when it's a major race, I go into it focused. I don't take anything for granted."
Baffert has also declared Hoppertunity, while Mike de Kock will be hoping Mubtaahij can go one better than when second to California Chrome last year. Ryan Moore has been booked to ride Lani, one of four contenders from Japan.
It may be the third successive year Britain and Ireland have no representation in the World Cup but there is a strong contingent for the supporting races, headlined by Postponed, who is 2-1 favourite with Ladbrokes to repeat last year's victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic for Roger Varian.
The trainer's new assistant Will Johnson was on hand to see Postponed stretch his legs on the all-weather training track on Monday and said: "He just did a light canter, we're just freshening him up after he did the majority of his work in his run earlier in the month.
"I couldn't be happier - he's tighter and moving well and he'll do one more piece of work later in the week."
There is a deep British and Irish presence - including Big Orange, Heartbreak City and Sheikhzayedroad - in the Dubai Gold Cup after 13 were declared to take on Vazirabad, a best-priced 9-4 with Coral.
Henry Candy's stable star Limato has been set the challenge of eclipsing course record-holder Ertijaal in the Al Quoz Sprint, while Ribchester (Richard Fahey), Mutakayyef (William Haggas) and Decorated Knight (Roger Charlton) give Britain strength in depth for the Dubai Turf.