03/28/2013 3:54PM

Dubai World Cup: Shea Shea looks strong in Al Quoz Sprint

Neville Hopwood
Shea Shea, the winner of the March 9 Meydan Sprint, faces 15 foes in Saturday's $1 million Al Quoz Sprint.

Shea Shea looks like a formidable favorite in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint. Just ask the trainers of his strongest rivals.

“He likes this place, and he’s in good order, but Shea Shea is going to be hard to beat,” said Edward Lynam, the trainer of Sole Power.

“Our horse is now a solid Group 1 horse, but I don’t know if he can beat Shea Shea,” echoed Robert Cowell, the trainer of Spirit Quartz.

Shea Shea, a South African import trained by Mike de Kock, finished seventh Jan. 31 in his Dubai debut. De Kock said Shea Shea needed the race and would improve, and the trainer did not miss the mark. Shea Shea overpowered 15 rivals, including Sole Power and Spirit Quartz, in the March 9 Meydan Sprint.

“I think he’s in the same sort of place now,” de Kock said.

Shea Shea faces 15 foes in the Al Quoz, a straight-course turf race over about five furlongs. Lynam said Sole Power was not yet a fit horse in the Meydan Sprint and can improve. So can Spirit Quartz, fifth in the Meydan Sprint in his first start since October.

Mr Big, an excellent Singapore-based sprint specialist who has never finished worse than third in 19 starts, could spring an upset. Leading Hong Kong sprinter Eagle Regiment is on the mend from a hoof injury and might yet make the gate after his participation seemed in doubt Wednesday.