Two things are certain about Call the Wind—you cannot doubt his connections or pedigree—but it is the uncertainty that provides the most excitement for the well-bred and lightly raced son of Frankel. A George Strawbridge homebred, he is trained by top-class conditioner Freddy Head and appears, at age five, to be on the cusp of what could be a defining season when he starts in the $1.5 million Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2) on Dubai World Cup day.
“I’m very happy with the horse,” Head said. “He had been improving all year around last year and I think he has improved again coming into this race.”
Head knows his way around a gelding with an upward trajectory—or nurturing talent over multiple seasons with any kind—having conditioned the dominant Solow to win multiple Group 1s, including the $6 million Dubai Turf (G1), while also nurturing the development of multi-season Group 1 winners Goldikova and Moonlight Cloud (also owned by Strawbridge).
With Call the Wind, Head has a pure stayer on his hands with a marked turn-of-foot. One who possesses the rare quality of—for lack of a better term—incredible wind, complemented with potent acceleration. The winner of three of his last four could be sitting on another step forward when he takes on some of the top stayers in the world in the 3200m affair on Mar. 30.
Raced just eight times, he did not start his career until last year, going from a four-time failed maiden in the spring to Group 1 winner in the fall in absolutely scintillating fashion. Earning his top-level victory decisively in the Prix du Cadran (G1) over 4000m in October, he defeated the well-regarded pair of Holdthasigreen and Morgan Le Faye. The pair franked that form 22 days later when finishing first and third in the 3000m Prix Royal-Oak (G1) over Irish St Leger (G1) winner Flag of Honour (fifth)—also expected in the Dubai Gold Cup field—and ill-fated multiple Group 2 winner Brundtland (fourth).
Call the Wind returned a day short of five months later in a pure prep, the 1900m Prix Darshaan on Chantilly’s Polytrack. Acquitting himself well, considering the sever cutback in trip, the half-brother to Group 1 winner We Are chased home Trais Fleurs, a Group 1-placed miler who contested last year’s Dubai Turf (G1). Again, this form was flattered when third-placed Soleil Marin returned to impressively annex the Prix Exbury (G3) on Sunday.
“I think he ran a very good race for his re-entry over a distance that was much too short,” Head said. “I like the way he goes right now and how he ran in that race. He has won a Group 1 over the longer trip and I think he is coming up to the race very well, so we look forward to the race. I like coming to Dubai and he should travel well. He will ship the 22nd from France.”
The following list is ultimately pure guess-work until official invitations are announced and a field of probables takes shape, but it is good to keep a ‘watch’ on those who have announced that they are possible for the race.
DGC Watch: Ispolini, Cross Counter, Call the Wind, Weekender, Prince of Arran, Platinum Warrior, Red Galileo and Bin Battuta.
Call the Wind, picture Dubai Racing Club