/ Racing

Little Mike pleases Dale Romans ahead of Duty Free

Updated: Wednesday, 27 Mar 2013 11:25 | Comments

Dubai's World Cup card boasts the biggest purses for a single meeting in world racing
Dubai's World Cup card boasts the biggest purses for a single meeting in world racing

Breeders' Cup Turf hero Little Mike spearheaded a bunch of contenders for Saturday's Dubai Duty Free that took to the Meydan training track on Wednesday morning.

The Dale Romans-trained six-year-old engaged in some light exercise and similar unexacting work then came from Michael Bell's Wigmore Hall and New Zealand raider Ocean Park, for whom Royal Ascot could be an option this summer.

Romans, who will also saddle Dullahan in the Dubai World Cup, has also not ruled out sending Little Mike to Europe in the future, but for now his attention is firmly on the Group One Duty Free for which he feels he has Little Mike in the form of his life.

With his Breeders' Cup and Arlington Million triumphs, Little Mike is an outstanding turf champion in the US, and Romans believes he can step up markedly on his first run at Meydan, when he finished down the field in a Group One event on the Tapeta surface.

He said: "Little Mike does everything right and is a machine. He's going back to grass but has the speed to take the race to them.

"He can go from the front or he can hold back. He just overcomes all obstacles and is the perfect horse."

Romans has good memories of Dubai as he believes the World Cup triumph of Roses In May in 2005 was the catalyst for his career really taking off.

He said: "It was a career-changing experience and took me to a different level in the sport.

"When I won it, people thought of me as a different level as a trainer and sent me horses because of it."

Little Mike, who is a standing dish at Gulfstream Park where his tally is five from seven, could race in the UK even though that would be new territory to Romans.

He added: "I have never raced in Europe but if he runs big (on) Saturday, we will have to talk about what makes sense.

"We would love to come to England one time - it would be exciting for sure."

"He just overcomes all obstacles and is the perfect horse" - Dale Romans

Michael Bell was on hand to oversee the efforts of Wigmore Hall, whose international travels have seen him place in the Arlington Million and Canadian International.

Bell said: "He just cantered round today on the all-weather and there wasn't a breath on him.

"He's travelled in well, is in really good shape and will work tomorrow.

A third Duty Free candidate out on the track was Ocean Park, a first World Cup runner for New Zealand.

Trainer Gary Hennessy could consider a crack at the Prince Of Wales's Stakes should Ocean Park acquit himself well.

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