Clapton Returns Summers To Scene of His Finest Hours

Clapton | Erika Rasmussen


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — RRR Racing's Clapton (Brethren) may be one of the rank outsiders in international markets for Saturday's G1 Dubai World Cup, but trainer Chad Summers, who won the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen with Mind Your Biscuits (Posse) in 2017 and 2018, is embracing the underdog role against the likes of Ushba Tesoro (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}) and Kabirkhan (California Chrome).

“We're not here for the accommodations. We're not here for the badges and the passes and the parties,” Summers said. “We're here because we want to have a chance to hold that trophy up and put our name in the lore of the horses that have won it in the past.

“We're 60-1 and everyone says we have no shot. And we like being there. We like being the one that everybody counts out. It's a comfortable place for us and we're used to it.”

Clapton, last year's GII Lukas Classic winner, made a pair of starts during the Dubai Racing Carnival, finishing third to Kabirkhan in the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge in January and again to Military Law (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge on Super Saturday, Mar. 2

After some internal debate, Clapton–whose owner also campaigns defending G2 Godolphin Mile champion Isolate (Mark Valeski) with trainer Doug Watson–has been green-lighted for the World Cup and he'll leave from gate seven with Dylan Davis taking the ride. Summers and team have made some subtle tweaks and he believes he has the chestnut ready for the test.

“We have some working theories now as to what happened,” he explained. “For the last two months, he'd come out of the stall at 4 a.m. and we're waking him up at 2:30. He's not used to that. By the time he goes back in the stall at 7 a.m. he's been out of the stall for three hours. That's a lot of walking.”

It's a four-mile round trip from the barn to the Meydan main track.

“We're only taking him to this track three days a week instead of six days a week now,” Summers continued. “He seems like a fresher, happier horse. They have other tracks in the back and he seems just more like the old Clapton that we needed to see, because to be honest with you, we have too much respect for this race to run just to run.”

It's a bit of a full-circle moment for Summers this weekend, as Mind Your Biscuits is ironically the sire of one of Clapton's main World Cup foes in the form of G2 UAE Derby winner and GI Breeders' Cup Classic runner-up Derma Sotogake (Jpn).

“To watch him pop out of the gate and go on with it and just utterly dominate and then go on to the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders' Cup was amazing,” Summers said of Derma Sotogake's run in last year's UAE Derby.

But the gloves come off this weekend, make no mistake.

“Hopefully Biscuits can look down on me one more time and tell Christophe Lemaire to ride him like he rode him in the UAE Derby, go to the lead and battle Laurel River (Into Mischief) and go fast enough to help set things up for Clapton.

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