03/29/2012 12:39PM

Dubai World Cup: Lucky Chappy faces stiff test in UAE Derby

Neville Hopwood
Lucky Chappy comes off a nose loss in the El Camino Real Derby on the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – With 3-year-olds Went the Day Well and Howe Great back home preparing for America’s Triple Crown series, trainer Graham Motion and owner Barry Irwin had the luxury of shipping Lucky Chappy halfway around the world for Saturday’s $2 million UAE Derby at Meydan.

Add to the equation that Lucky Chappy has run well and trains over the same Tapeta surface that exists at Meydan, the UAE Derby, run at 1 3/16 miles, made perfect sense.

What neither Motion nor Irwin know is just how well Lucky Chappy fits with some of the best 3-year-olds from around the world. A field of 13 was entered in the UAE Derby.

“He’s going to have to step up,” Motion said. “He hasn’t run against this deep a group. One of the other problems we had at home was he always tended to break a step slow, and I’m hoping here it won’t matter so much. He’ll get away with it.”

Lucky Chappy comes off a nose loss to Daddy Nose Best in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate. Daddy Nose Best came back to win last weekend’s Sunland Derby.

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The UAE Derby drew Wrote, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner, who will be making his first start on a synthetic surface for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Wrote, who like Lucky Chappy is a son of High Chaparral, has made a good appearance on the track in his two mornings since arriving from Ireland. He appears to have grown and put on weight since last fall.

O’Brien is also sending out Daddy Long Legs, who won a Group 2 on turf last fall but who has not run since finishing 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt.

Two interesting horses are the Australian import Helmet, who has been somewhat of a buzz horse this week, and Maritimer, a three-time winner on the synthetic at Woodbine who is making his first start since being purchased privately by Cheznyan president Ramzan Kadyrov.

Helmet has been effective up to a mile and will have to overcome the outside draw in the big field. He is coming off a disappointing finish in his most recent start, in which he broke poorly.

“At least if he does miss the start as he did at Flemington at his last start he should be able to keep out of trouble,” trainer Peter Snowden said. “The all-weather is not as firm as some of the artificial tracks in Australia, and I’ve noticed that some horses tend to labor on it, but Helmet has tended to skim over it.”