03/28/2013 12:49PM

Dubai World Cup: Mental is horse to beat in Group 1 Golden Shaheen

Barbara D. Livingston
Trinniberg, the winner of last year's Breeders’ Cup Sprint, will make his 2013 debut in Saturday's Group 1 Golden Shaheen, his first race on a surface other than dirt.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Mental’s first 12 starts came on turf in Australia, where the 5-year-old gelding was bred and based until being brought to Godolphin’s Marmoon Stables here late last year. The training track at Marmoon is composed of sand and dirt.

When Mental started Feb. 14 in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint at Meydan, it was his first try on a synthetic surface, and trainer Mahmood al Zarooni had no idea what to expect.

“This horse, at home he shows you nothing,” al Zarooni said.

What Mental delivered was a decisive victory that makes him the horse to beat Saturday night in the Group 1, $2 million Golden Shaheen, an all-weather-track sprint at about six furlongs that drew a field of 12.

Having shown al Zarooni what he could do at Meydan, Mental, a Grade 1 winner on grass, has been kept under wraps since his Dubai debut.

“The plan was to give the horse time and come to this race fresh,” al Zarooni said.

Mental’s chief rivals include two American horses, Trinniberg and Private Zone. Hong Kong shipper Frederick Engels and Ireland-based Gordon Lord Byron also have a chance.

Trinniberg races for the first time since winning the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and will make his first start on a surface other than dirt. Trinniberg has shown positive signs on the Tapeta surfaces at Meydan and an adjacent training oval.

“He breezed good here, and he travels really light,” trainer Shivananda Parbhoo said. “I’m only concerned a little because we don’t know that much about the track.”

The speedy Trinniberg breaks from post 3, and Parbhoo said no effort will be made to keep him from the lead. Private Zone looks like the other primary speed, an outside draw giving his rider, Martin Pedroza, more options than Willie Martinez on Trinniberg. Private Zone finished second in the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood last December in his most recent start on a synthetic surface, the second of four straight runner-up finishes.

“He’s run well enough to win some of those,” trainer Doug O’Neill said. “He’s run some huge races and cooled out in 10 minutes. I think there’s still more there.”

Frederick Engels had a good winter racing in Hong Kong turf sprints. Gordon Lord Byron won the Group 1 Prix de la Foret last fall over very soft ground and was solid March 8 in an all-weather-track prep in Ireland.

chairmanwong0 More than 1 year ago
So hows the americans doing? Puking I guess?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
I don't know how it is believed Mental is hard to beat here. Trinniberg and Private Zone will be long gone by the time Mental realizes what happened.
nicola c More than 1 year ago
mental was bad trinni was last or near lst private down the field too im afraid
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
boy Dubai has become so much harder than it was in the past.back at the old dirt track you could take a few things for granted like in the dirt sprint bet the americans especially the California speed.in the world cup bet the best American and voila you had 2 races pegged down.now on the new surface all that has changed the advantage we had on dirt is gone and the speed of the speed angle has been taken by the Australians.so who do you bet now?..Australian speed in the sprints and European stayers in the cup? who knows but here are my picks race 2 soft falling rain,zazou,master of hounds. race 3..cavalryman,imperial monach,seismos. race 4...secret number,dice flavor,zhaee. race 5....shea shea,varsity,great attack. race 6...mental,united colour,trinniberg...race 7...the apache.ocean park,wingmore hall. race 8..shareta,dunaden,gentildonna. race 9...planteur,kassiano,african story........good luck.
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
I think that Trinniberg is absolutely the 2nd best sprinter in the world at the moment. The invincible Black Caviar has no peers, but Trinni should put away any other sprinters with ease. May they all come home safely.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Neil More than 1 year ago
He's not even the second best sprinter in the US. You need to go back and look at his PP's. Throw out the BC race, which you should do with every horse that won on that speed biased conveyor belt Santa Anita was, and look at his races. Best 3 year old sprinter last year, maybe. But if he was the second best sprinter in the world, he should've won some of those he lost. He's a toss out, even in races back here in the states. Good luck Saturday. Will be thanking you for betting him down to stupidly low odds.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
How about his Parx, Calder and Belmont efforts? Lets make something clear. If you want to make a case for Black Caviar then I would expect to see her record put on the line here. Trinniberg wins this and claims the title of best sprinter on Earth. He has back to back ONES on the Sheets.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
The fact you said he is a toss shows your ineptitude. He is much the best in this race. If you toss him, I'd suggest to you to not bet on this race.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
There you have it folks. Send it in...please!
MICHEL More than 1 year ago
Trinni wins by five