The Bill Mott-trained multiple Grade 2-winning and four-time Grade 1-placed son of perennial American champion sire Tapit and champion Close Hatches exits a respectable fifth-place finish in the Saudi Cup on Feb. 29 and has reportedly settled in well after the short trip from Riyadh.
"Everything went well," said Riley Mott, assistant trainer. "He got in really early (Wednesday) morning at about 1:00 a.m. and looks good. We'll take it lightly with him the next few days and likely just keep him on the jogging track near the quarantine centre. The U.S. horses aren't used to the longer walk to the track, so we will adjust how we train him going into the World Cup and maybe go to the main track every other day. We will keep him fresh and probably have a couple works."
In the King Abdulaziz Racecourse fixture, the long-striding grey 4-year-old colt raced inside from post two, but lacked room when the real running started midway through the turn of the 1800m one-bend affair. The Dubai World Cup will be a stretch back out to 2000m and two bends, which is a change his connections seem happy to see. In his previous two tries at 2000m, he was a good third in both the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1).
"I was really impressed with his performance," Mott continued. "If you watch his race, he lacked some room going into the turn and was parked behind Benbatl, waiting for him to make his move or come off the rail. No excuses, but when it was time to get going, he had to hesitate and from that point to the wire, he didn't lose any ground with the leaders. He stayed the course with them and didn't back up, while finishing behind two American champions (winner and runner-up Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou). His frame, his breeding and his previous races say he's a two-turn horse, so that extra furlong will be intriguing."
In 10 career starts, Tacitus has three victories, three seconds and two thirds, which has earned him $2,677,500 in prize money. Second in the prestigious Travers Stakes (G1) and Belmont Stakes (G1), he won the Wood Memorial (G2) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) earlier in 2019 to stamp himself as one of the best of his generation. Mott has won the Dubai World Cup with the great Cigar and was third in 2015 with Lea.
Tacitus joins a field that is expected to also include 2019 runner-up Gronkowski, Japanese star Chrysoberyl, Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston and DWC Carnival star Benbatl. More horses will hope to qualify for the race this Saturday in the Group 1 $600,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3.