Casse bullish as Sir Winston flies in for Dubai World Cup mission

Sir Winston holds off the grey Tacitus to win the Belmont Stakes last June. Photo: Chelsea Durand

Trainer Mark Casse is excited to see what Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston can do on his first foray overseas in Saturday’s $12 million Dubai World Cup as he led a set of ten U.S. invaders arriving at Meydan Racecourse on Wednesday afternoon.

The son of Awesome Again denied fellow World Cup runner Tacitus — already In Dubai after his fifth-place run in the Saudi Cup — in the Belmont before an injury put him on the sidelines until late December.

The chestnut homebred of Tracy Farmer returned with a non-effort (finishing 11th) in the listed Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds on turf before returning with an eye-catching 1600m dirt win at Aqueduct on January 31. That day, he passed five horses in the stretch en route to a 2¼-length win and showed the same marked acceleration that won the Belmont.

What made it even more impressive, despite the inferior opposition, was how well he adapted to a distance well below his forte.

“He’s training extremely well,” Casse said. “His last race’s [speed figure] was even bigger than his Belmont win. I was hoping for a decent race and then to try to run him one more time going farther, but he ran so well, I decided that that was all.

“After he got hurt after the Belmont, he came back really well. Since his [January] run, he’s been working great. We didn’t really change the way we prepare him for this race. You dance with the one who brought you. We think he deserves a chance in the Dubai World Cup.”

Others to arrive with the Classic winner were fellow World Cup runners Math Wizard and War Story, the Peter Miller-trained trio of Gray Magician (Godolphin Mile), Texas Wedge (Al Quoz Sprint) and Wrecking Crew (UAE Derby), as well as Shotski (UAE Derby), Killybegs Captain (Dubai Golden Shaheen) and the Richard Mandella-conditioned duo of United (Longines Dubai Sheema Classic) and Tizamagician (UAE Derby)

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