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Stormy River ready for Dubai Duty Free
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Stormy River, the best miler trained in France last year, has been confirmed on course for the Dubai Duty Free (G1) at Nad Al Sheba on March 31 by trainer Christophe Clement, who took the 4-year-old to Saint-Cloud for a racecourse gallop on Saturday.

”The ground was heavy, and he does not like that”, Clement tells Globeform, ”but he worked well with two pacemakers and we are on course for a trip to Dubai. Stormy River was carrying 8 kilograms more than his workmates, and he had a good blow after the job. He has had a few jobs the past weeks and will be ready to fly out to Dubai on March 24.”

Stormy River galloped a mile between races at the Paris track, which is left-handed like Nad Al Sheba. Top jockey Olivier Peslier rode the colt and he has also been booked to ride him in the Dubai Duty Free (G1) – where Stormy River will be trying further than a mile for the first time and may clash with the Californian star Lava Man. The son of Verglas, owned by Norwegian based businessman and racing enthusiast Christen Sveaas, was among the best – and most consistent - horses in Europe last year.

He ran some solid races in defeat at the highest level in 2006 – and also won a Group One when beating Kentucky Dynamite by half a length in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly. He was perhaps even more impressive in his only start outside France, when shipped to Royal Ascot in England, where he ran in the St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1). After dropping back early, the colt finished best of all, to move up from last to second in the short straight at Ascot. He was beaten only by Araafa – who had previously won the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) from champion miler George Washington. Stormy River had been known to pull a bit too hard in his previous races, and the trainer’s work at ”switching him off” possibly made the horse race too lazily through the first half-mile at Ascot. Back home in France, Stormy River produced two more top class performances in the country’s best mile events. He was unlucky as fourth to Godolphin’s Librettist in the Prix Jacques le Marois (G1) at Deauville, and ran on strongly at the finish when second to the same horse in the Prix du Moulin (G1) at Longchamp.

Stormy River looked a more mature horse than last year as he trained at Saint-Cloud, and he is just the type to improve again as a 4-year-old. His trainer said that he will get another serious job in Chantilly, where Clement is based, next week, ”but he will be about 20 kilograms too heavy when we fly to Dubai”, he said ”as the trip and the heat can take a bit out of the horse.”

Last update: 2007-03-11 07:56:14 (First published: 2007-03-11 07:28:43 )

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