At 118 on the official ratings, the son of Farhh towers over his $175,000 Meydan Cup (Listed) rivals, but must carry a 60kg impost, giving away between four and seven kilograms to the likes of British Champions Long Distance Cup (G2) fourth Mekong, G2-placed Secret Advisor, as well as proven Meydan winners Dubhe and Universal Order.
Previously in the care of Mark Johnston, the 2018 Epsom Derby (G1) runner-up makes his local bow for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer, who believes the horse should surely progress from Thursday's effort.
"I checked all of the (DWC Carnival) program and there was only one race just he could run in right now," Bin Ghadayer said. "I spoke to the boss and we decided to run him. We would like to run him in Saudi before the (Group 2 $1.5 million) Dubai Gold Cup and we need a race before that. He will need the race. He's about 70% ready and after this we will see about Saudi and then the Gold Cup. I just hope for a good race and for everything to go alright."
From 19 starts, the four-time winner has finished in the top three 16 times, including placing in five G1 races and chasing the best stayers of his era, including division leaders Stradivarius and Kew Gardens . A confirmed frontrunner, he has never raced 2810m, but has won from 1400m to 3200m in his impressive career.
"I'm happy with how he's accepted the program here, which is very different from the Johnston yard," Bin Ghadayer continued. "Some horses need time to acclimatize, but he's a professional. He is a little lazy. If I showed you how he gallops, you would think he's a 45-rated horse—an average horse—but he's a different horse in the race and he has that experience. He is smart and he knows training isn't racing. Sometimes it's better to have the lazy horse than the keen horse, because they take care of themselves. Like I like to say, 'a lazy horse is a sound horse.' I'm happy with how he's improved since he arrived and I couldn't ask for anything more."
Bin Ghadayer's go-to jockey, Mickael Barzalona, who rode him for the first time when third last out in October's Prix du Cadran (G1) at Longchamp, has the mount.