Panthalassa, who was absolutely sensational and surprising in beating Country Grammer and winning the $20 million Saudi Cup earlier this year, will have to work a lot harder after securing a wide start from the 15th stall in Saturday’s Dubai World Cup.
Trainer Yoshito Yahagi insists that the Saudi Cup win was a “gamble” that paid off after Panthalassa drew the inside gate, started brilliantly, and held on to the lead ahead of a fast-charging Country Grammer.
“It was a really big gamble to use Panthalassa for dirt racing. I just think I won a gamble. And that is why I am so satisfied that I made the decision to run him on dirt,” said Yahagi, who has four runners in the Dubai World Cup night.
“The wide draw will be a very hard challenge for him from barrier 15. The Dubai World Cup is already a very hard race, but it is made more difficult with his starting gate. Fortunately, he is doing really well and I am satisfied with his condition and fitness.”
The Saudi Cup was run over 1,800 metres (9 furlongs), while Dubai World Cup is 10 furlongs (2000m). When asked if the step-up in distance would be a challenge for Panthalassa, who is one of eight Japanese horses in the race, Yahagi said: “I believe that Panthalassa’s best distance is nine furlongs, but in reality, he has won four times over 10 furlongs.
“All the Japanese horses that have entered the race are dangerous for me, but if I got to pick, it would be Ushba Tesoro and TO Keynes.”
Yahagi was pinning his hopes on Bathrat Leon, the defending champion in the $1 million Group 2 Godolphin Mile.
“Last year, he was a rank outsider, but this year, I am pretty confident about him for this race,” said Yahagi. “He has improved so much. We travelled to Europe last year where we ran the Sussex Stakes against Baaeed and it didn’t beat him by too much. We didn’t get a good result in France but all this travel and competing has improved his mind.”
Yahagi will also saddle Continuar in the $1 million, Group 2 UAE Derby, while Justin starts as an outside chance in the $2 million Gr1 Dubai Golden Shaheen.
Jockey: Yutaka Yoshida
Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi
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