With trainer Dale Romans watching from a perch at Meydan, both his multiple Grade 1 winners Dullahan and Little Mike turned in strong works March 24 as they prepare for their races on the $27 million Dubai World Cup program March 30.
Donegal Racing's Dullahan was the first horse on the track in pre-dawn darkness around 5:30 a.m. with Romans' partner, exercise rider Tammy Fox, in the saddle. The big chestnut rolled through 1,000 meters (about five furlongs) in 1:01.38, according to Dubai Racing Club official Jim Cornes.
"He was taken in hand and still well within himself with his ears pricked," Cornes reported, relating Dullahan's final fractional times as :11.44 and :12.02
"He finished really, really good," noted Fox, who rode Dullahan off the track while giving a thumbs up sign to onlookers. "That's what Dale wanted to see."
Dullahan is set for the $10 million Dubai World Cup at 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles). Romans is hoping his prep in the Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday, a one-mile event in which Dullahan broke slowly and finished unplaced, will set the synthetic surface specialist up for a better performance.
Little Mike came out on the Meydan turf course after sunrise and proceeded to turn in a stylish breeze, going 1,000 meters in 1:03.94 "comfortably," said Cornes.
"Little Mike went the same way Dullahan did -- and he loved the grass," Fox said. "We're ready."
The Dubai Racing Club has listed Little Mike as a likely starter in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free at 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) on turf.
Romans opted to return Little Mike to turf following his career debut on an all-weather track on Super Saturday, March 9, at Meydan. Priscilla Vaccarezza's 6-year-old gelding grabbed the lead in the stretch of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III before dropping back to finish eighth behind Godolphin's winner, Hunter's Light.
Little Mike won three grade I races on grass last year including the Breeders' Cup Turf.