Egan counting down the hours to Mishriff in Sheema Classic
Saudi Cup hero bidding to achieve unique double this weekend.David Egan has hailed Mishriff’s versatility as the four-year-old prepares to tackle 12 furlongs for the first time in Saturday’s Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan. The four-year-old has made his second trip to the Middle East in just over a month for the Group One feature, having landed just short of GBP 7.3million when winning the Saudi Cup – the world’s most valuable race – in Riyadh last month. That was his second visit to Riyadh, having finished second in the Saudi Derby last February, while he achieved Group One gold in the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in the summer before adding a Deauville Group Two to his haul. Egan believes Mishriff’s ability to travel is testament to the strong constitution of John Gosden’s charge. He said on Tuesday: “It’s fantastic to be connected with such a versatile, top-class horse. I saw him out on the track today, he looks well and hopefully he can do the business on Saturday. “Mr Gosden (said) ever since he’s been back to Newmarket, he’s been full of beans and raring to go again, so they decided to make the trip back out to Meydan and I get to sit on him tomorrow, so I can kind of gauge where he’s at in comparison to Riyadh, but everything’s looking good so far. “It’s not easy (to travel). He did all his intense training in the snow in Newmarket and it’s not easy to do, to be able to acclimatise him so quickly and turn him around to win the richest race in the world. It’s a hard thing to do and it just shows you what a versatile horse he is. “Every time he’s run, he’s travelled. I know he went to Ascot and Newmarket (last year), but he went to France twice, to Riyadh twice and now on to Meydan, so it’s a credit to the horse and Mr Gosden’s team.” Mishriff’s thrilling Saudi Cup win from American ace Charlatan came over nine furlongs on dirt in Riyadh, but he faces a totally different test at Meydan, running over a mile and a half on turf. While the Prince Faisal-owned Make Believe colt is obviously no stranger to turf, he has yet to run over further than an extended 10 furlongs – but Egan thinks victory this weekend could open more avenues, including a possible crack at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the autumn. He said: “It’s a lot of money (on Saturday) but it’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s going to be a long season for Mishriff now. I’m sure going for the Sheema Classic rather than the Dubai World Cup was something Prince Faisal and Mr Gosden thought a lot about before deciding which race to go for. “Obviously they have in the back of their minds how he’s going to be campaigned for this season, whether he sticks to a mile and a quarter or even drops back in trip or steps up to the mile and a half. “If things all go well on Saturday, there’s a lot of options – maybe even the Arc at the end of the year could be the main target, but we’ll get Saturday out of the way first.” Mishriff is the highlight of five rides for Egan at Meydan, with the jockey having picked up a fine spare aboard Joseph O’Brien’s Prix de la Foret third Speak In Colours in the Al Quoz Sprint. Egan added: “I’m a lucky lad, I’ve got some good rides and hopefully they can all run a good race.”
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