The Fugue and Dank clash in Dubai Duty Free
The Fugue was regarded as one of Britain’s bankers at the Breeders’ Cup in November but was collared on the line by Magician. Jockey William Buick was reduced to tears by the defeat and suffered further frustration when a fast finishing second in the Hong Kong Vase.
It was an unfortunate end to the season for John Gosden’s stable star who had earlier won the Yorkshire Oaks and the Irish Champion Stakes in brilliant fashion. Gosden has elected to run here in preference to the World Cup but she must have a leading chance if sharp enough first time out.
The same applies to Sir Michael Stoute’s Dank who surprised connections with the amount of improvement she showed last year. A good third at the Royal meeting was followed by emphatic victories at the Curragh and Arlington before she headed for the Breeders’ Cup.
She was heavily backed and was driven out by Ryan Moore to beat Romantica by half a length. The jockey felt that she was not quite as good as she had been in her previous starts and Stoute is cautiously optimistic on her seasonal bow.
The horse most likely to benefit from any lack of race fitness in his rivals is Just A Way. The five-year-old son of Heart’s Cry was a convincing winner in Grade 2 level at the start of the month.
On his previous start in October, he had slammed Gentildonna by four lengths at Tokyo and a reproduction of that effort would make him hard to beat.
Vercingetorix is the dark horse of the field having won all five starts for Mick de Kock. He beat Cambridgeshire runner-up Code Of Honor here in February before following up in a Group 1.
He was a well backed favourite that day and holds Anaerobio (3rd)and Trade Storm (4th) on that form. Godolphin rely on Hunter’s Light and Tasaday but both are some way adrift of the leading contenders on official ratings.