Grade 1 winner Hot Rod Charlie turned in his first major work Jan. 27 at Meydan, nine days after arriving in the emirate from his California base.
Trained by Doug O’Neill for Boat Racing, Gainesway, Roadrunner Racing, and Bill Strauss, the 4-year-old son of Oxbow breezed four furlongs, hand-timed in :48 1/5 with a gallop-out in 1:01.
William Buick, aboard for the work, will sub for regular pilot Flavien Prat in Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (G2) Feb. 4. The 1,900 meters (about 1 3/16 miles) test is Hot Rod Charlie’s intended prep for the $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) March 26. The Dubai World Cup is 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles).
“He was amazing,” said assistant trainer Leandro Mora, who accompanied eight O’Neill Dubai World Cup Carnival imports on their journey. “He went by himself because I didn’t want too fast of a workout from him. I think the longer stretch here will help and maybe be less pressure on him.
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“He didn’t get tired today. This is his first work in Dubai and we didn’t do too much. We usually work every seven to eight days, so this will be perfect leading into next week’s race.”
Buick, who rode two or O’Neill’s three Carnival winners in 2020—Curlin Stakes Sponsored By Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One winner parsimony and UAE Two Thousand Guineas Sponsored By Masdar (G3) winner Fore Left —was pleased with the work. It was the second time in the past year that he has been tapped to drill a high-profile American runner, having breezed Mystic Guide before his 2021 Dubai World Cup victory.
“I was very happy with him,” Buick said. “He looks great and has obviously shipped and settled in well. He’s a fit horse and came across this dirt very well. It’s the first time I’ve ridden him and he feels like a class horse. What he gave me this morning, just a half-mile breeze, he did what we wanted.
“You look at his form from last year and it’s very good and he definitely feels like a horse who has that kind of profile,” Buick added. “Doug, Leandro, and I get on quite well and it’s nice when they come in with such good horses and I can be of service to them.”
Hot Rod Charlie is a winner of three of 13 races and more than $2.5 million. He ran second as the favorite in the San Antonio Stakes (G2) in his last start Dec. 26 at Santa Anita Park.
Round 2 is also expected to draw stablemate go on , Preakness Stakes (G1)-placed Everfast , grade 1 winner For The Top and local winners Al Nefudu and Hypothetical , as well as possibly American import Avante Garde, UAE Derby (G2) runner up panadol , and well-regarded curlin —Blind Luck , by Pollard’s Vision progeny kafoo .