Dubai The connections of X Y Jet, a horse that has come so far from being almost un-ridable to becoming one of the top three sprinters in the US, are confident that their stable star can continue the near total dominance of American-trained runners in the $2million (Dh7.34 million) Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) at Meydan on Saturday.
Twelve winners of the popular 1,200metre dirt contest have all been trained in the United States, with Caller One being the first to fly the American flag when triumphant in 2001 at Nad Al Sheba and Secret Circle being their most recent Meydan winner of 12 months ago.
X Y Jet was untouchable when securing a fifth straight victory in the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes at the end of February resulting in him being installed as the big international favourite to become the 13th winner Golden Shaheen winner for the Americans.
Dr. Isabel Jiminez Acquarone, an Equine Science Consultant on the X Y Jet team, said that everything was going according to plan in the build-up to Saturday’s race and maintained that it was X Y Jet’s to lose.
“His trainer, Jorge Navarro, couldn’t be more pleased with the way thing have gone ever since the horse arrived in Dubai,” said Acquarone. “He believes that X Y Jet is a fit as he has ever been and that he has never been happier. He absolutely loves Dubai.
“He’s doing good right now, staying healthy and getting better each day. His fractions on the track are impressive even though he’s a horse that Jorge does not encourage to show a lot of sprinting speed during work.
“Jorge is very unique in the way that when he says he wants to keep his horse happy, he means it,” added Acquarone who uses her expertise as an equine science consultant to make a temperament assessment of the horse before and after races.
“X Y Jet is a horse with a rather different character to most,” she revealed. “At one time he was unbreakable and would throw his jockey rather than work. His behaviour was rather wild, until he was gelded.
“His stable name is ‘The Grouch’, because that’s what he’s like. But he’s really come a long way with what he has accomplished. He’s a horse that personifies the American dream of achieving the impossible. He’s given hope for lay people, the common people, who have begun to idolise this horse.
“Winning the Golden Shaheen is not just about the prize money, it’s what it represents for the team and the many fans who follow him,” added Acquarone.
However, X Y Jet’s scorching pace will also give other speedsters like Kiaran McLaughlin’s Confrontation, UAE star sprinter Muaarab and Hong Kong’s Super Jockey something to aim at.
Acquarone says that Navarro is very realistic and understands that in horse racing anything can happen, at the gates, in the running, wherever.
“She leaves nothing to chance,” she said. “They keep everything immaculate at his barn. There’s a great attention to detail - the tack, everything, nothing is left to chance.
“There’s a lot of team spirit, real Latin spirit in there.
“I’m on a great team and we appreciate that there are some good horses out there. I’m just hoping we going to see some top speed on Saturday. Something that will be jaw dropping.”