By Will Hayler
Mickael Barzalona has expressed satisfaction with the performance of Cloth Of Stars, despite last season’s Arc de Triomphe runner-up being beaten by stablemate Talismanic in his prep-race for Dubai World Cup night at Chantilly earlier this week.
Cloth Of Stars is to be aimed at the Sheema Classic on March 31, while Talismanic will be trying his hand on the dirt in the US$10million headline event.
Barzalona has been in action at Meydan throughout the Dubai Racing Club Carnival and returns for rides this weekend on the Super Saturday card that include the front-running Heavy Metal in the Group Three Burj Nahaar, although stall 13 won’t make things easy for horse or rider.
Reflecting on Cloth Of Stars’ performance, Barzalona said: “It was a very good performance by Talismanic, but the plan was to give (Cloth Of Stars) a good race and just not be too hard and still make him work. Talismanic picked up well, but Cloth Of Stars ran a very good race too.
“He travelled beautifully which is not unusual for him and he picked up very well to the line. I mean, I was a length behind Talismanic and I stayed a length behind him so I’m very pleased with that.
“It was a target for Cloth Of Stars after the Arc to run in the Sheema Classic and we all know how good Andre Fabre is to make a horse ready for the big days so I am sure he will be 100 per cent. At the moment, he looks like he is going to be very competitive.”
As for Heavy Metal’s prospects, Barzalona conceded that getting to the front will be the battle on Saturday.
“He loves the dirt at Meydan, he is very fast from the gate, he was only third in the Maktoum Challenge because he doesn’t stay that trip, but he’s in great shape,” said the jockey. “Hopefully we will be able to get the lead and he will win the race.”
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