One of the more interesting contenders for next month’s Dubai World Cup is the Marco Botti-trained Gitano Hernando, set to make his seasonal reappearance in Lingfield’s Winter Derby Trial on Saturday, writes Elliot Slater.
Botti is fast making a name for himself as a highly capable handler and, much in the mould of another great Italian-born trainer Luca Cumani, his first high profile win came in the United States. His horse Gitano Hernando won the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita in October, beating Colonel John, Richard’s Kid and Preakness Stakes hero Mine That Bird.
Connections resisted the temptation to supplement their horse for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and instead focused on the Dubai World Cup, a plan now nearing fruition with the final step being the run at Lingfield on Saturday, before the big race itself. Gitano Hernando is currently available at up to 14/1 to land the $10 million contest. He will be up against the likes of Gio Ponti, Twice Over, and Vision D’Etat in a star-studded line-up.
Botti has shown tremendous nous in his preparation of the four-year-old colt who he progressed from wining a Doncaster handicap at the start of last term to the heights of his US victory under Keiren Fallon, who retains the ride in Dubai. Although sure to be better for the outing, Gitano Hernando is rated 14lbs clear of his nearest rival on official figures for the Lingfield event so observers will be expecting him to come through the race with flying colours.
Should Botti’s stable star succeed in Dubai it will be a tremendous advertisement for his talents and a further leap up the ladder leading to the higher echelons of the training ranks in Britain.
Meanwhile, domestic racing pundits are turning their eyes to the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2010.
Many now see Kauto Star as an excellent Cheltenham bet after rival Denman unseated his rider in a recent race at Newbury.