Success Story will make his 2nd Dubai Carnival start at Meydan on Thursday and it couldn’t be a tougher ask for the Korea-bred and trained five-year-old as faces the Carnival’s star attraction, California Chrome, over 2000M.
Success Story has raced three times over 2000M in the past, struggling to get the distance in two attempts at it as a three-year-old in 2014, including a 10th place in the President’s Cup at Seoul. He managed a win in his only attempt at the distance in 2015, winning a handicap by just under three lengths at Busan last April.
The Min Jang Ki trained five-year-old horse also held an entry in a 1400M contest, however, given the strength of that race and the presence of a lot of early speed, it was decided to allow him to take his chance at the greater distance.
As it happens, California Chrome will run in the same event, race 6 on the seven-race card, using it as his warm-up race for the World Cup. While making it that much more difficult for Success Story to improve on the 3rd place that he recorded on his Dubai debut over a mile last month, the presence of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner does enable the rest of the field, including Success Story to just carry 53Kg (although a Godolphin entrant has a jockey claiming a further 2.5kg which could be interesting).
The hope is that this, combined with the Meydan dirt being kinder to stay on than the Busan sand as well as the fact that it was well known California Chrome would be running here leading some other tough contenders to avoid this race (there are only eight runners) will allow Success Story to not only stay the distance but also be able to beat some of the others home.
Cheongu, the other Korea-trained horse at the Carnival, will also race on Thursday. He finished 5th of 8 over 1200M on opening night and will go over the same distance in race 3. Having been slowly away and losing a plate in running, he certainly had his excuses in January. He’ll be up against it once more but an improved performance is possible.
Tadhg O’Shea, who won admiration in Korea for his enterprising ride on Success Story last month, will take the mount again while Royston Ffrench will partner Cheongu.