Dual Group 1 runner-up Poet's Word primed for big effort in Sheema Classic
Poet's Word is on course for a big run in Saturday's $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic according to Bruce Raymond, the owner's racing manager.
Saeed Suhail's five-year-old made giant strides in 2017 but ended the year on a low in Hong Kong after Group 1 seconds behind Decorated Knight in the Irish Champion Stakes and Cracksman in the Champion Stakes.
A below-form sixth at Sha Tin can perhaps be excused on account of a wide trip, and Raymond reports him in excellent order in advance of the weekend's assignment, when he will be ridden for the first time in public by Frankie Dettori.
Raymond said on Sunday: "He's going great guns and Frankie was delighted with him after he sprinted clear of his lead horse when he rode him work on Thursday, which was the day before he flew to Dubai.
"Ryan Moore had ridden him previously in work and everyone is very happy with him.
"I imagine Cloth Of Stars will be favourite, and there are good Japanese horses in the field too, but I think Poet's Word is ready for something like this and I'm sure this is his best distance."
The Sheema Classic is over a mile and a half, a distance over which the Sir Michael Stoute-trained horse ran only once last year, his other five starts being over a mile and a quarter.
That longer race, the Group 3 Glorious Stakes, resulted in a victory under Moore, who will be required to partner Idaho in the Sheema Classic.
Raymond is also racing manager for the owner of Sheema Classic outsider Desert Encounter, and of Dubai Gold Cup contenders Sheikhzayedroad and Prince Of Arran.
He said: "Desert Encounter always finishes well and may get into the money, and Sheikhzayedroad really thrives in Dubai and was third in his race last year. He ran well enough when third at Medyan last time and although he's not getting any younger should be in the running.
"Prince Of Arran is already a winner out there this year and is an exciting runner for Charlie Fellowes."
Out of the Dubai Turf is Deauville, who is running a temperature according to trainer Aidan O'Brien, with stablemate War Decree taking his place.
Champion mare Forever Unbridled, meanwhile, will be retired after contesting the Dubai World Cup and bred this spring to Medaglia d’Oro.
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