‘Elusive’ Makes Dubai ‘State’-ment

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Elusive State | HKJC photo

By Alan Carasso

Elusive State (Aus) (All American {Aus}) sat on a middling domestic rating of 57 to start the 2018-2019 season in Hong Kong, hardly a horse one would consider for something as important as the Dubai World Cup Carnival. But having won three on the bounce entering Saturday’s Leighton H., a Class 2 over the 1650 metres, the 5-year-old had improved his rating to 80, and although he had the benefit of a feathery 115 pounds on his back, managed to overcome a brutally wide trip from an awkward draw to keep hopes alive for a berth in either the G2 Godolphin Mile or in the G1 Dubai World Cup itself.

Drawn gate 10 with the in-form Silvestre de Sousa at the controls, the 17-5 favourite raced slightly worse than midfield and three or four paths off the inside through the opening 800 metres before making some ground approaching the third corner. Asked for a bit more with 2 1/2 furlongs to travel, Elusive State showed a good burst of speed in spite of the wide passage, engaged perfect-trip Raging Blitzkrieg (Ire) (Shamardal) inside the 150m and edged away to score a touch cosily in the finish after a final quarter-mile in a sparkling :22.52 (video).

“It’s one thing winning in Class 2 and another thing winning the Godolphin Mile or the World Cup but what we see here is a little bit special,” winning trainer Tony Millard told the HKJC’s Graham Cunningham, suggesting that he will lobby the Club to put up a similar race as a possible Dubai prep in March. “He’s a late developer and a big animal. He’s the real deal. He’s a very good horse and if he hadn’t run four wide the whole way he wins by 20 yards. He needs to earn more rating points, but if they do put on a race…and he can win it, then we’ll see.”

Elusive State is one of 11 Hong Kong-based horses entered for the DWC program, chief among them Horse of the Year Beauty Generation (NZ) (Road to Rock {Aus}), whose participation is widely regarded as unlikely.

 

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