01/19/2010 12:00AM

World Cup prep set for Gitano Hernando


Gitano Hernando will have a single prep for the Dubai World Cup on the Lingfield Park Polytrack in the Winter Derby Trial on Feb. 27, exactly one month before the world's richest race is run at Meydan.

Still trained by Italian Marco Botti in Newmarket, this 4-year-old son of French Derby winner Hernando has not run since scoring an 18-1 upset of Colonel John, Richard's Kid and Mine That Bird in Santa Anita's Goodwood Stakes on Oct. 10. Owned by Team Valor and Gary Barber, Gitano Hernando has been aimed at the $10 million World Cup since that day.

Botti announced on Tuesday that Kieren Fallon, who rode Gitano Hernando at Santa Anita, would travel from Dubai, where he is currently riding, to England expressly for the ride.

"Kieren is important to have in this race," the trainer said. "He knows the colt and he can tell us where we stand with him in his training. So far, even though the weather has been a bit of a challenge, the colt has not missed any training. He looks and feels good, so we are excited about using the race at Lingfield as his prep for the World Cup."

The Winter Derby Trial is a 1 1/4-mile listed race that generally serves as a prep for the Group 3 Winter Derby four weeks later. Botti also informed that Gitano Hernando would follow the same travel strategy for the Dubai World Cup that he did for the Goodwood, not arriving in Dubai until a few days before the race.