In a sequel to rival the Hangover films, Sands Of Mali’s superstitious part-owner Peter Swann is returning to Las Vegas, where he will watch the Champions Day winner attempt to add more Group 1 success to his CV in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan on Saturday.
Swann is chairman of Scunthorpe United, who sacked Stuart McCall as manager on Sunday, and is hoping the four-year-old can triumph in Dubai this weekend and re-enact happier memories, such as his Champions Sprint success at Ascot in October.
He was in Las Vegas for his 28-1 Ascot victory and believes the colt has progressed over the winter.
Swann said on Sunday: “I’ve been in regular contact with Richard [Fahey, trainer]. I went up and saw him the other day, he’s been in fantastic nick. He’s definitely progressed and we’re delighted with his conditioning.
“He’s travelled well and lost only a couple of kilos, which is fantastic, and he’s settled in. I don’t think he could be in better condition going into it.
“I’m going to be in Las Vegas, which sounds like a bit of a jetsetter's dream, but two times he’s won, I’ve been in Vegas. When he won in France I was in Vegas and when he won at Ascot I was in Vegas, so we’re going back – not solely for that, mind, it’s my son’s birthday.
"My son and I are going to Vegas, but my wife, my eldest son and [bloodstock agent] Matt Coleman are all going out to Dubai to support him. Even though I’m going to be away I will be watching, probably at some stupid time in the morning."
He added: “The last time he ran we were on Shadow Creek Golf Course with a lot of celebrities, and everybody, including the caddies, had some money on him, so you can imagine what sort of day it was after that!”
Phoenix Thoroughbreds bought into him over the winter, and Swann can scarcely believe how far he and the Cool Silk Partnership have come in just a few years.
He said: “I think everybody knows us for buying breeze-up horses and being successful. To pick Sands Of Mali up for £75,000 at Ascot sales, where he was a little, stubby, plain, dubious sort of horse, and then to get to a point where he’s won a Gimcrack, has been in seven Group 1s and won one, is amazing.
"We started with all-weather horses for about £800, so to then suddenly win the Champions Sprint, with a first prize of about £360,000, was quite a shock."
On the Meydan challenge, for which he is generally second favourite behind Blue Point at a best-priced 8-1, Swann said: “Our target has primarily been this race. We know we’ve got to beat a beautiful horse in Blue Point. If he does, he stamps his authority on the division.
"It’s amazing to think we’ve got the second favourite, considering where we were four or five seasons ago.”