02/23/2009 12:00AM

Dubai contenders get to work


Five of the world's better turf horses were on the track at Nad Al Sheba Saturday morning, preparing for assignments in the Dubai Duty Free or the Dubai Sheema Classic on March 28.

Eagle Mountain, who won the Hong Kong Cup after his second-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Turf and has been in Dubai since December, galloped shortly before Arlington Million runner-up Archipenko. Both are trained by Mike de Kock, who is aiming Eagle Mountain at the 1 1/2-mile Sheema Classic and could prep in the Dubai City of Gold on World Cup prep night, March 5. Archipenko could use the Jebel Hatta on the same night as a prep for the 1 1/8-mile Duty Free.

Duty Free candidate Vodka, who defeated the recently retired Daiwa Scarlet in the Autumn Tenno Sho before finishing third in the Japan Cup, cantered on the Nad Al Sheba dirt and is under consideration for the Jebel Hatta as well.

Youmzain, second for Michael Channon in the last two runnings of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, breezed on the turf course and is slated to go straight to the Sheema Classic, just as he did last year whenhe was fifth behind Sun Classique. Purple Moon, a half-length second in the 2007 Melbourne Cup and a nose second to Doctor Dino in last December's Hong Kong Vase, worked in the presence of trainer Luca Cumani's daughter Francesca. He will prep for the Sheema Classic in the City of Gold, which has been upgraded to Group 2 status this year.