How do you solve a problem like Fawree?
Anyone willing to give Fawree a second chance in Saturday’s UAE Derby will be pleased to hear connections are confident they have ironed out the issue that saw him unseat rider Bernard Fayd'Herbe at the stalls when hot favourite for the Al Bastakiya last time.
Trained by Mike de Kock, Fawree has never been a fan of the starting stalls according to his trainer but with the help of South Africa’s leading equine behavioural therapist Malan du Toit, he passed a recent stalls test with flying colours.
Du Toit explained: “He’s a lovely horse and has been a pleasure to work with throughout. He was a bit insecure to begin with but improved on a daily basis to the extent that we can now load him without a hood and he is happy to stand in the stalls.
“Importantly, the handlers who will deal with him on Saturday were on hand and everything went perfectly.”
Providing all goes to plan at the start, the current 9-1 about Fawree could be on the generous side come the weekend.
Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has a penchant for a runner or two on World Cup night, has followed a familiar ritual this week and on Wednesday swooped to add local hero North America to his team for Saturday.
Kadyrov, who in 2014 was placed on the European Union's sanctions list for supporting Russia's annexation of Crimea, has often spent big money in the build-up to the World Cup and had already purchased UAE Derby contender Cosmo Charlie earlier in the week.
However, it is his latest purchase – a leading contender for the Godolphin Mile – that catches the eye most. After all, who’d have predicted one of of Vladimir Putin's closest allies would be taking over North America by the end of the week?
You could have told us, Bob
It has been the early bird catching Arrogate and the refreshingly approachable Bob Baffert this week, with the the west-coast legend choosing to exercise the World Cup favourite on the main track at 5am in the morning.
Having had a day off on Tuesday it seemed logical that the routine would recommence on Wednesday and as a result the 4.30am shuttle bus from the hotel to Meydan has never seen so many bleary-eyed passengers.
So imagine the scene when on arrival at the track it was announced Arrogate would be having a “light jog” in his exercise yard rather than making the mile-and-a-half journey to the racecourse proper.
It remains to be seen how many takers there will be for the 4.30am departure on Thursday.