Ambitious Dragon (NZ) will attempt to emulate 2007 Hong Kong Horse of the Year Vengeance of Rain (NZ) when he heads to Dubai for the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free on March 31.
Ambitious Dragon (6g Pins – Golden Gamble by Oregon) claimed Hong Kong’s 2011 Horse of the Year award and regular rider Douglas Whyte believes the Duty Free (1800m) is the best option instead of the Dubai World Cup (2000m).
“The 1800m there looks a nice, easy course,” Whyte said. “It’s just like Sha Tin, only left-handed. I suppose you never know whether there will be a problem going the other way until you try it.”
Whyte said he gained confidence from the regular form lines between Dubai and Hong Kong. “Mike de Kock’s filly River Jetez finished second in the Duty Free last year before Ambitious Dragon beat her in the QEII Cup here at Sha Tin. That’s a good guide and shows he has the right quality.
“I guess we will have a better idea of the opposition for the Duty Free after the Super Saturday meeting there next week.”
Trainer Tony Millard and owner Johnson Lam will wait until after the trip to the Gulf before deciding a course of action back home. If he doesn’t defend the QEII Cup on April 29, the next suitable race on the radar would be the G1 Champions and Chater Cup on May 27.
Official invitations are yet to be issued by the Dubai Racing Club but Ambitious Dragon will lead a Hong Kong team that should also include Xtension and California Memory as well as G1 Al Quoz Sprint candidate Joy and Fun.
Ambitious Dragon was bred in New Zealand by Pat Lowry and was passed in for $47,500 at the 2008 Karaka Select Sale. His dam is a half-sister to Recall (Kaapstad) who won five races up to 2400m including the Listed STC Winter Cup.
A son of Waikato Stud sire Pins, he began the 2010-11 season in a lowly handicap before rising through the ranks to win at Group 1 level in the Hong Kong Derby.