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O’Brien looks to add another Dubai Sheema Classic victory with Mogul

Once again, Dubai World Cup Night 2021 will bring the very best in the world of equine to Meydan and that includes representation from the record-breaking Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.

The master of the globally-renowned Ballydoyle stables has overseen the preparation of a remarkable 344 Group/Grade 1 winners in Flat racing around the world, 15 of which were last year despite the well-publicised changes to certain elements of the racing calendar owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mogul (GB) was O’Brien’s final Group 1 winner of 2020 when the son of Galileo recorded an emphatic win in the Longines Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December and it is Mogul who will aim to pick up where he left off by becoming O’Brien’s first runner in a Group 1 race this year when contesting Saturday’s $5m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic.

Progress from three to four is expected from the well-built sort, but such was also the case for Japan, whose 2020 4-year-old campaign was a bit underwhelming. A winner of Group 1s, including the Juddmonte International and Grand Prix de Paris, in 2019, Japan could manage only a pair of thirds from five tries last year.

“Mogul departed Ballydoyle on Monday and we are looking forward to running him on Saturday.” O’Brien said.

“Obviously this will be his first run of the season but he ran in the middle of December in Hong Kong, he came out of that race very well and he seems to be in good form. He is a horse that likes nice ground and a flat track seems to suit him. The ground is always beautiful in Meydan and it’s a great track.”

O’Brien last saddled a winner on Dubai World Cup night in 2018 when Mendelssohn posted a scintillating performance to win the UAE Derby by an incredible 18½ lengths. Mogul will give another now chance to O’Brien’s to add to his victory in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic with St Nicholas Abbey in 2013.

“We think Mogul is ready to start for the season,” O’Brien continued. “He is a very solid horse who has a lot of experience of travelling and he seems to thrive from that really. But we are never under any illusions though that it is always very competitive racing out there and there are very highly rated horses competing in these races.”

Mogul is by the incomparable sire Galileo, the offspring of whom nobody knows better than O’Brien, but the master trainer also claims that traits of Mogul’s dam’s sire, Danehill, are obvious in the 4-year-old. Shastye was a daughter of Danehill trained by John Gosden and she has managed to produce some very talented offspring, including the O’Brien-trained Group 1 winner Japan.

“Physically to look at Mogul is made more like a sprinter or a miler,” he said. “He is by Galileo out of a Danehill mare and there is a lot of Danehill in this horse to look at him, he is a big powerful colt. Mentally he has a good mind, as does Japan, but to look at them they would differ as Japan looks more like a mile and a quarter to mile and a half horse.”

The Irish Flat racing season began just last Sunday at the impressive Curragh Racecourse where O’Brien combined with retained jockey Ryan Moore for two winners from just three runners on the card.

This immediately served as a reminder, not that it was needed, of just how formidable a duo the O’Brien/Moore axis is. In what can simply be described as very strange times around the world, this low-key season starting fixture was a hint of normal order resuming in Irish Flat racing while victory for Mogul on Saturday would offer a more global reminder.

Following Mogul’s win in the Longines Hong Vase last December, O’Brien stated “I think next year could be his year” and there would be no better way for Mogul, Moore and O’Brien to begin their collection of Group 1 races in 2021 than in a vintage renewal of the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic.

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