03/22/2010 11:00PM

Youmzain takes fourth shot at Sheema


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Few horses have earned so much for losing as Youmzain.

In the last three years, Youmzain has become famous for finishing second in three consecutive runnings of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris.

In the same years, Youmzain has been slightly less consistent in the Sheema Classic in Dubai, a $5 million race over about 1 1/2 miles on turf in which he will be making his fourth consecutive appearance at Meydan racecourse on Saturday. The Irish-bred Youmzain was third in 2007, fifth in 2008, and fourth in 2009 when the race was run at Nad Al Sheba racecourse.

It would not be a surprise if Youmzain earned substantial prize money in Saturday's Sheema Classic.


The losses may drag down Youmzain's winning percentage, but with 6 wins in 27 starts and 7 second- and 7 third-place finishes in his career - he has earned $5,736,958. Not bad for a horse who cost approximately $45,000 at auction. His next win will be his first since the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud in France in June 2008.

"In one of these races, he'll turn up," trainer Mick Channon said by telephone from England earlier this week. "He's won Group 1 races, and you want to win a big race. To be second in three Arcs is unique. It's a funny thing that he didn't win one, but he's a bit of a character."

Youmzain has made 18 consecutive appearances in Group 1 races, the first of which was a victory in the Group 1 Preis Von Europa in Cologne, Germany, in 2006.

In the Arc, Youmzain was beaten a head by Dylan Thomas in 2007 and lost by two lengths to Zarkava in 2008 and by the same margin to Sea the Stars last fall. The 2008 race came just weeks after Channon was involved in serious car accident in England that claimed the life of a friend.

Youmzain has not started since finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Hong Kong Vase on Dec. 13, the first time since June 2006 that he had finished outside the first five. The loss left Channon puzzled.

"He didn't perform and it was the end of the year," he said. "I don't have any main reason. It was one of those things."

Youmzain resumed training in January.

Channon had a rare starter in North America last fall, winning the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine with the 44-1 outsider Lahaleeb. Youmzain is currently Channon's top horse. The trainer was once known for excelling with early season 2-year-olds, or "whizzers" as he called them, but has diversified the stable in recent years.

Channon, 61, played soccer for the England national team in the 1970s and for clubs such as Manchester City and Southampton. He took out a trainer's license in 1990 and is based in West Ilsley, England, about an hour west of London. The yard was once occupied by Dick Hern, who trained Dayjur, the runner-up in the 1990 Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park, and famous English horses such as Brigardier Gerard and Troy.

Throughout the training center, there are small nameplates on the brick walls outside the stalls commemorating the famous Hern horses that lived in them over the years. Outside of Youmzain's stall there is a different sign: "Beware. The horse bites."

Kinsale King already familiar with Tapeta

Regardless of where Kinsale King runs in Saturday's $2 million Golden Shaheen, trainer Carl O'Callaghan will not second-guess the way he prepared the horse.

After Kinsale King won his second consecutive graded stakes in the Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 23, O'Callaghan took Kinsale King and a few of his other horses from Hollywood Park to Golden Gate Fields in northern California for a few weeks in February.

The intent was to give Kinsale King two workouts over Golden Gate's Tapeta surface, the same type of synthetic track at Meydan.

O'Callaghan has made Kinsale King the major focus of his 25-horse stable in recent months. The 5-year-old gelding, owned by Patrick Sheehy's Super Horse Inc., gave O'Callaghan his first career stakes win in the Grade 3 Vernon Underwood Stakes on Dec. 6, a day before the trainer's 34th birthday.

Kinsale King enters the Golden Shaheen on a three-race winning streak, the first being a 61-1 upset in an optional claimer at Santa Anita last October, his first start for O'Callaghan. As a 3- and 4-year-old, Kinsale King was trained by Jesus Mendoza and Eoin Harty and had one win in four starts.

O'Callaghan said the most crucial aspect of Kinsale King's training is dealing with the gelding's feet.

"He's got quarter cracks, and you have to manage them," he said.

O'Callaghan, a native of Ireland, has lived in the United States since he was a teenager, first working at racetracks in New York and the mid-Atlantic. He moved to California in 2006 and worked as an exercise rider before he began the second part of his training career in 2008. He trained briefly in the late 1990s and early 2000s with limited success.

Kinsale King is the lone American-based runner in the Golden Shaheen. Since the race began offering a seven-figure purse in 2000, American-based horses have won eight of the 10 runnings.

The Golden Shaheen drew a field of 10, including Gayego, who won the Grade 1 Ancient Title Stakes at Santa Anita last fall and was a troubled fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in November. Gayego races for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Racing and was second in a prep race here Feb. 11. Also in the field is Regal Parade, who won the Group 1 Haydock Park Sprint Cup over six furlongs on turf in England last September, his most recent start.

Kinsale King breaks from post 7 and will be ridden by Garrett Gomez.