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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Cricket lover Baker aims for Al Quoz glory with Music Magnate

Music Magnate: drawn in stall 12 for the Al Quoz Sprint
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Bjorn Baker may train near Sydney but he is a Kiwi through and through. It didn’t take long to realise that.

Before discussing the chances of Al Quoz Sprint contender Music Magnate, on Wednesday drawn potentially favourably in stall 12, Baker could not resist a friendly dig at the demise of the England cricket team.

Baker previously visited Dubai eleven years ago and saddles his first runner at the track in the Listed Randwick winner, a best-priced 20-1 with Ladbrokes.

The Warwick Farm trainer said: “It’s exciting to be here as it’s truly international and it makes you realise just how big the sport is, but how small it is too at the same time.

“I couldn’t be happier with Music Magnate. He looks magnificent. If he runs to his best form he has a definite chance.

“He’s a high-class horse and his record on firm tracks and fresh up is second to none.

"I don’t think he’s out of it, that’s for sure, and stall 12 appears a good draw with plenty of pace on the stands' side, while the rail to the right of him will be something he's used to.”

Take takes aim with three rides

Legendary Japanese jockey Yutaka Take attracted plenty of media attention on Wednesday morning at the track and boasts three chances to return to the winner’s enclosure on Saturday night.

Take enjoyed a first World Cup night triumph aboard Admire Moon in the Dubai Turf 11 years ago and rides the Mikio Matsunaga-trained Awardee in the Dubai World Cup, Hideyuki Mori’s Matera Sky in the Golden Shaheen and Hisashi Shimizu’s Akito Crescent in the Godolphin Mile.

Take said: “Awardee has been training very well and will be suited by this left-handed track. He was a bit nervous when trapped on the rail last time though so the draw in stall one is a concern.

“Matera Sky moved really nicely on the surface this morning. He’s very sharp and has good acceleration. The start is key for him, but if he breaks well, he has a chance. Akito Crescent only has a small chance.”

Capezzano and Heavy Metal will mark a first two World Cup night runners for Sandeep Jadhav, former assistant to the recently suspended Salem Bin Ghadayer, in the Godolphin Mile.

Jadhav recently took over the reins at the local stables following Bin Ghadayer's disqualification for a year. The prohibited substances Ketamine, Norketamine and Dehydronorketamine had been detected in one of his runners at Jebel Ali on January 26.

Meet the man for the call

World Cup night racegoers and television viewers on Saturday will be treated to the tones of Australian commentator Craig Evans, who will call the runners home at the mega meeting for the first time.

Evans took over from Terry Spargo, previously official commentator for 17 years in Dubai, this season and has experience of calling races at top tracks in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa.

Add Dubai to that list too after this campaign’s Carnival, although Evans is eagerly awaiting the big night of the year.

Evans, who jointly hosted the draw ceremony on Wednesday, said: “To call on this night is amazing and the whole Carnival has just got better and better every week as the season has gone on.

“If any commentator said they would be treating Saturday as just a normal day they would be telling a lie. It’s a big, big day and the preparation is huge. I follow the motto of South African golfer Gary Player - the more you practice, the luckier you get.

Craig Evans: commentates on Dubai World Cup night for the first time on Saturday

“When we get to raceday there will be a lot of nerves but the beauty of the raceday is with every race being a big one, the nerves will dissipate as we go through.

“The trick is to try and block the nerves out, but at the same time, nerves are good as they keep you on edge.”

So what approach will Evans take when commentating on the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup?

“Alot of callers want to be part of action but I don’t see it like that. A good race caller is like a good referee – if you’re doing your job really well then people don’t really notice you’re there," he said.

“I’d prefer for people to come away and say that I’ve described it well and accurately, rather than thinking it was a great race call because of some witty or cliched line.

“I’d rather be in the background, so to speak. The horses and the jockeys are the stars of the show.”

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It’s exciting to be here as it’s truly international and it makes you realise just how big the sport is, but how small it is too at the same time
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