A £21,000 (US$29,000) bargain from Tattersalls sales in Britain two years ago has taken trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam on an engrossing journey from South Korea to California that continues in Dubai on Saturday.
Australian-born Chapple-Hyam, who oversees a boutique 28-strong stable in Newmarket, has enjoyed a dream journey with the now 7-year-old Ambassadorial who looks a live outsider for Saturday’s Group 2 $750,000 Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One.
The son of Elusive Quality has proved equally adept on dirt and turf, claiming third place in the valuable 2019 Keeneland Korea Cup in Seoul before finishing down the field in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.
He is also no stranger to Meydan, running creditably four times at the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival, including when losing out in a photo to Midnight Sands in a handicap on his first run last January.
“We had a great time in Meydan last year, he looked like he was going to win on that first start but was robbed on the line by Midnight Sands, who he was giving 10lb,” said Chapple-Hyam.
“Midnight Sands is one of the leading fancies on Saturday. He’s since been to America and back and it’s exciting to be meeting on level weights.”
After a three-month winter break, Ambassadorial had a pipe-opener for Dubai at Chelmsford in Britain on March 4, which his trainer feels set him up well for the big race.
“It was over 1400m, which is a bit short for him and he blew for 20 minutes afterwards and he has done well from the race,” she continued.
Because of British Covid-19 quarantine restrictions, Chapple-Hyam will watch the race from home but she has been happy with the reports coming back from Dubai via travelling head groom Ollie Turner.
“Ollie is very happy and I can see from the photos and videos that the horse is thriving out there,” she added.
“He’s drawn in stall 1, which is not the greatest, but he’s a horse that is usually quick out of the gates and I’ll be fine if he’s racing in the second row of horses. He’s wearing an eyeshield and is used to the kickback at Meydan so I hope we’ll get a run for our money.
“It does look quite an open renewal this year and it’s fantastic prize money, the race is worth US$750,000 compared to the £15,000 we ran for at Chelmsford. It will be tough, especially against some of the Americans, but I hope we can finish in the first four.”
Another trip to Korea, or possibly a try on dirt in America, could be on the agenda for Ambassadorial, whose trainer has an exciting few weeks ahead at home with the unbeaten filly Saffron Beach being aimed at the Group 1 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 2.
“She’s going to have a prep run in the Nell Gwyn Stakes in April and has done extremely well after a winter break with her owners Ben and Lucy Sangster,” added Chapple-Hyam. “It’s made the winter go a bit quicker having her and Ambassadorial to look forward to.”