Spirit Dancer primed to test Group One waters for the first time in Dubai

By Sports Desk January 24, 2024

The Sir Alex Ferguson-owned Spirit Dancer will search for further international riches on Friday when he attempts to supplement his Bahrain International Trophy success in Meydan’s Jebel Hatta.

Owned by Ferguson alongside Fred Done and Ged Mason, Spirit Dancer gave the former Manchester United manager one of the best days of his racing life when the £500,000 connections earned through victory in the Persian Gulf eclipsed any single winner’s cheque the Scotsman picked up with the legendary Rock Of Gibraltar.

Trained by Richard Fahey, the son of Frankel – who was bred by Ferguson and Niall McLoughlin – has taken his time to fulfil his potential but is now rapidly climbing through the ranks as he prepares to line up in Group One company for the very first time.

Victory in Bahrain was Spirit Dancer’s fourth from his last five runs and although his owners are not able to make the trip to the UAE to cheer the seven-year-old on, connections are hopeful of tasting more overseas success in his first outing of 2024.

Fahey said: “It’s his first Group One and a tough race, a proper Group One and we’re looking forward to seeing him run. Everything is going well and he’s in great order.

“I’m afraid his owners can’t make it this time which is a big shame because I know they were keen to come, but it’s just fallen on the wrong day sadly.

“Sir Alex is used to winning, but he gets a good kick out of it, so let’s hope he runs well again.

“It was a great day (in Bahrain), a very enjoyable day and it’s always great to be a part of these big international meetings and Dubai is exceptional as well, so we’re looking forward to it.”

The Jebel Hatta – which also features 1000 Guineas heroine Mawj – is the beginning of what could be a busy few months for Spirit Dancer in the Middle East, with a trip to the Saudi Cup meeting next month and a return to Meydan on Dubai World Cup night pencilled in on the gelding’s calendar.

His win in Bahrain secures him an automatic spot into the Neom Turf Cup in Riyadh on February 24, but he also has the option of switching to dirt for the fixture’s main event the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup.

“We’re certainly using this as a prep for Saudi and he will maybe just need the run,” continued Fahey.

“He will stay in the Middle East now for a few months and hopefully also get an invite for Dubai World Cup night.

“We haven’t decided yet (which race in Saudi Arabia) and we’re just keeping our options open. It’s very difficult to get away from a $20,000,000 race but the Neom Cup does look the easier race, so we will speak to the team and see what they think.”

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