02/27/2010 12:00AM

Gitano Hernando sharp in World Cup prep


Gitano Hernando's Lingfield Park prep for the Dubai World Cup went off without a hitch on Saturday as he cruised to a comfortable 4 1/2-length victory in the $61,000 listed Winter Derby Trial.

Unhurried in fifth behind a fast pace in the 1 1/4-mile Polytrack contest, the 1-2 favorite produced a turn of foot at the top of the two-furlong stretch that none of his six outclassed rivals could match. He led approaching the eighth pole, went quickly clear and was not asked by Kieren Fallon for anything extra in the closing stages. The pacesetting Lingfield Polytrack listed winner and 3-1 second choice Suits Me was second with the 20-1 handicapper Mister Green third, a half-length behind the runner-up. The winning time was a quick 2:01.97, just .34 seconds off Dansant's 2008 track record.

Gitano Hernando was making his first start since Oct. 10, when he upset the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes over Santa Anita Park's Pro-Ride surface. The 4-year-old son of French Derby winner Hernando is now 4 for 4 on synthetic surfaces and, according to Fallon, "is improving all the time."

Marco Botti, who trains Gitano Hernando for Team Valor and Gary Barber at his Green Ridge Stables yard in Newmarket, said afterwards that Gitano Hernando was only 80 percent fit for the race. Botti will send Gitano Hernando, a 4-year-old, to Dubai about a week before the March 27 World Cup, following the same schedule he used prior to his trip to Santa Anita. Ladbrokes cut Gitano Hernando's World Cup price to 8-1 from 10-1, making him co-second favorite with Twice Over behind Gio Ponti and Vision d'Etat, who are both 6-1.

Twice Over works for World Cup

Earlier on Saturday at Lingfield, Twice Over worked well on the Polytrack course. With trainer Henry Cecil and owner Khalid Abdullah's racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe present, the Breeders' Cup Classic third worked in tandem with Tranquil Tiger, a Lingfield listed winner in his last two starts when he beat Suits Me and Presvis, who is also being considered for the World Cup. Ridden by regular pilot Tom Queally, Twice Over spotted his workmate three lengths before cruising by him to cross the wire three lengths in front.

A 5-year-old son of Observatory who won the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket prior to his run in the Classic, Twice Over will go in the Dubai World Cup without the benefit of a prep race. Cecil told the Racing Post that he is also considering Twice Over for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on April 25 and the Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji on May 23.

Meanwhile, Grimthorpe announced that Juddmonte Farm's Spanish Moon, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Turf and second in the Hong Kong Vase late last year, will run in the Dubai Sheema Classic, a race in which the Michael Stoute-trained son of El Prado finished second last year.