Shane Foley, who rides the Mick Halford-trained Russian Soul, in the DUBAL Excellence Trophy at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday, is confident of a strong run from the five-year-old sprinter.
Russian Soul’s connections are entitled to hope for victory after their charge finished an honourble second best in his last three outings, including a length-and-a-quarter runner-up behind the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Tamaathul in the Dubai Duty Free Millionaire Handicap on January 17, according to the Dubai Racing Club.
This time he lines up over a shorter trip than his 1,200m Meydan debut, taking in the minimum distance of 1000m.
“I rode him yesterday morning and he’s feeling very good,” said Irishman Foley, who has been riding for Halford since he was an apprentice jockey, aged 16.
“He went back to six furlongs last time and showed plenty of pace and I don’t think that dropping back to five furlongs will be a problem.
“For me the only negative is that he’s one kilo out of the weights.”
Russian Soul also faces Mike De Kock’s Grade 1 winner, Shea Shea, who will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon, the course and distance winner, Fityaan, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi and David Brown’s Temple Meads who was a classy second to Fityaan last time, following a long period away from the track.
De Kock rates Shea Shea, the 2011 Grade 1 Golden Horse Casino Sprint winner highly but has slight concerns that his talented charge will need the run following his trip to Dubai and period in quarantine. Nevertheless, Foley identifies the South African sprint star as the one to watch out for in a competitive race.
“The top weighted Mike De Kock horse is a dual Grade 1 winner, rated 117 and he’s looking the one to beat,” said Foley. “Having said that, it’s a very strong race with a lot of horses that you could fancy so it should be a great race.”
Follow Emirates 24|7 on Google News.