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Dubai World Cup

Literato, 11 runs, 9 wins...
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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With a career counting nine wins and just two defeats, Literato is a horse every potential rival must take seriously, whether he turns up in the Dubai World Cup (G1) or in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1).


4 gr c Kendor - La Cibeles / Cardoun

Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

This French colt, sold from Jean-Claude Rouget’s stable to Godolphin last autumn, never stopped improving in his three-year-old campaign. He closed it out with a gutsy win over Eagle Mountain in the Champion Stakes (G1) at Newmarket.

He beat the Irish trained rival by a nose, with the subsequent Hong Kong Vase (G1) winner Doctor Dino three lengths behind in third. Up to this fine win at the highest level, Literato had been ‘flying under the radar’ somewhat in European racing. Sure enough, in France they knew about his talents, but he was never seen as a top class horse outside his native country. Perhaps that is exactly what he is. The Champion Stakes at Newmarket is run over a course very different to the Dubai World Cup (G1) though, so if he is to have a chance in the big one, Literato must be both adaptable and versatile. He seems to be, having won races at Longchamp, Deauville, Vichy, Toulouse and Parilly in France before producing his very best at Newmarket. The Champion is tagged over a straight turf course, over 2000 metres. The Dubai World Cup is also 2000 metres but it is staged over a dirt track and going around one turn. Can the double be achieved? In fact, it was nearly achieved five years ago, when Moon Ballad was second at Newmarket in the autumn and won the World Cup here at Nad Al Sheba the following spring.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was probably somewhat disappointed when Storming Home beat Moon Ballad at Newmarket, but it is unlikely that he thought much about that race when Moon Ballad slammed the North American star Harlan’s Holiday by 5 lengths in the World Cup. Now, Harlan’s Holiday was good but he was no Curlin.

Literato is a possible contender for the World Cup but perhaps he would have a better chance if stepped up to 2400 metres in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) on the turf course. You can not win the Champion Stakes without a fair amount of stamina and back in June last year, Literato was second in the “French Derby”, the Prix du Jockey-Club (G1), run over 2200 metres. He was beaten by Lawman, who went on to win the Prix Jean Prat (G1) on his next start. In third came Shamdinan, winner of the Secretariat Stakes (G1) in the USA in August, and fourth place went to Zambezi Sun, who landed the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) next time out. The French Derby may have been dismissed by many as a sub-standard classic at the time but it does not look so bad now, does it?

Between his run in the French Derby and his win at Newmarket, Literato picked up two valuable prized over 2000 metres in France, winning the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (G2) at Deauville and the Prix du Prince d’Orange (G3) at Longchamp. He has won stakes races on good to soft and very soft ground. Turf runners with a preference for some give in the ground often do well at Nad Al Sheba’s dirt track.

Last update: 2008-03-09 07:45:48 (First published: 2008-03-09 07:44:19 )

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