A distant third favourite to newly crowned American champions West Coast and Forever Unbridled a week ago, the Andre Fabre trained 5-year-old has narrowed distinctly over the last few days.
One of racing’s most eye-catching runners, the bay/brown with the painted white face, has continued to impress with his speed and attitude in morning work at Meydan Racecourse.
Although this will be his first ever race on dirt, his 17 to date have been mostly on turf with one on Chantilly’s polytrack, the Godolphin great has gone about his business like clockwork, striding out beautifully.
The son of Medaglia d’Oro, the French raider was out on the Meydan dirt at 05:00 on Monday morning with exercise rider Claude Scialacqua aboard.
He was accompanied by his stable companion Cloth of Stars, ridden by exercise rider Amelie Foulon, who will run in the US$6million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup day.
Travelling head lad Joel Pouchin was on hand to watch the Breeders’ Cup Turf winner in Del Mar last November work over 1400m.
Talismanic led down the back stretch and was then joined by Cloth of Stars for the final straight.
“Both horses worked well,” Pouchin said. “We are very pleased with them.”
Lisa-Jane Graffard, who manages racing operations for Godolphin’s French branch and knows Talismanic better than most, is increasingly optimistic that he can handle his upcoming challenges.
“How Talismanic handles the dirt on his first try in competitive conditions is the big unknown and the hurdle he has to overcome,” she said.
“I think it’s worth repeating that he’s the kind of horse that encourages you to try (because) he’s talented, he’s unflappable and he’s adaptable.
“I would say hopeful rather than confident.”
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