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21 April 2024

Forever Young Goes for Derby Double

By E247

Forever Young on the main track at Meydan Racecourse. Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Liesl King
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Forever Young Goes for Derby Double
The G2 UAE Derby [Sponsored by Atlantis The Royal] offers 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, making it an attractive spot for the unbeaten Forever Young, who firmly has America on his radar.
He’s trained by Japanese maestro Yoshito Yahagi and will be ridden by Ryusei Sakai, who partnered him to a last-second success in the G3 Saudi Derby last time out. 
“I was worried, but we finished very strongly,” said the rider. “He hasn’t fully matured but he is improving now. I think he’ll go on to win big races in a number of other countries.”
Bhupat Seemar runs three, headed by UAE 2000 Guineas winner Mendelssohn Bay, on whom Pat Cosgrave has retained the ride. The Fasig-Tipton graduate missed the Al Bastakiya prep by design, which his trainer is confident was the right decision.
“He’s changed; filled out and has a good coat on him,” said the former UAE Champion Trainer. “He did his gallop last week very easily, over seven furlongs [1400metres], came back and wasn’t really blowing at all. He’s by Mendelssohn out of a Curlin mare, so he’s got plenty of stamina on his side. We don’t know how good he is but we’ll find out on Saturday.”
Seemar also runs Guns And Glory – a wide-margin three-year-old Conditions race winner last time out. “He’s had some terrible draws and then finally got a good one, when we put blinkers on him,” he says of the 12-length success on March 8th. “He’s a very nice horse but he is a bit of a playboy and unfortunately Jennifer [Ferguson, Work Rider] got injured riding him the day before his win, but she’s been very high on him and the blinkers should do the trick again.”
Trainer Julio Olascoaga has enjoyed an excellent season in Dubai and runs three; Auto Bahn, Oasis Boy and Uruguayan Group 1 runner-up Rock Walk.
“Auto Bahn has done really well this year and always surprises us,” he said of the narrow second in the Listed Al Bastakiya. “He looks fitter now after his last run and has improved with every run.
“Oasis Boy, we were expecting a lot better from him in the Saudi Derby but the track and the trip didn't suit. We gave him some time to recover and he is in much better shape now.
“As for Rock Walk, he came from Uruguay earlier this year where he finished second to Triple Crown winner Ever Daddy in his last run. That is one of only two Group 1 races in Uruguay and was over a mile and a half. He has had a tough season already but has a lot of ability and I think he can run well.”
The UAE Derby [Sponsored by Atlantis The Royal] is race five of nine, with a scheduled off time of 5:50pm UAE.