March 2023



Last year’s Italian Derby winner ARDAKAN (GB), a relatively recent addition to Marco Botti’s Prestige Place Stables in Newmarket, will join stablemate GIAVELLOTTO in providing the trainer with two solid contenders in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup on Saturday 25th March at Meydan Racecourse.

Botti has regularly sent horses to the Dubai World Cup Carnival since he started training in Britain in 2006. In 2013, he was successful at Group 2 level on Super Saturday when he landed the Dubai City Of Gold with JAKKALBERRY.

On Saturday, Botti will be one of 15 trainers flying the British flag on Dubai World Cup night. The contingent of 19 horses will represent owners from eight countries.

Four-year-old Ardakan, formerly trained in Germany by Markus Klug, added some high-class form to his name after his Italian Derby triumph in May, most notably when third to subsequent Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner REBEL’S ROMANCE in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Berlin over 1 mile 4 furlongs (2400m) at Hoppegarten in August.

Following that, Ardakan was bought by Australian syndicate Bennett Racing and was transferred to Botti’s Newmarket base in the autumn. Last month, he placed second in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy at Meydan on just his second run for Botti.

The trainer spoke with Great British Racing International about Ardakan’s chances in the Dubai Gold Cup:

“The horse came out of his last run in a very good form. He showed he stays well and relaxed well in the race. We believe the Gold Cup trip should not be an issue for him. He has spent a couple of months in the warm weather in Dubai and he seems to enjoy it. We are looking forward to the race.”


Photo credit: Dubai Racing Club

Explaining how he ended up training Ardakan, Botti told GBRI:

“I used to have DANDINO (GB), a horse for an Australian syndicate. Nathan Bennett, the racing manager, was involved with that horse and we kept the connection together through Stuart Boman. It’s great for them to give us a chance to train a horse. He was bought before racing in America and then came straight to us. Long term obviously they are looking at a Melbourne Cup candidate, which he could be. Hopefully, we will be lucky together.”

When he lines up in the Dubai Gold Cup, Ardakan will face stablemate Giavellotto, who finished third in the Group 1 St Leger last year before placing second by half a length to another of Britain’s Dubai Gold Cup hopes, El Habeeb, in Listed company at Ascot Racecourse.

When asked about Giavellotto’s chances, Botti commented:

“Last year when he ran in the St Leger, we felt the horse definitely stays. He was probably a touch unlucky in the St Leger, but he finished third in the running. It’s always been the plan through the winter to start him off at the Gold Cup in Dubai. We’ve been really pleased with him. He’s in great order and seems stronger than last year. I don’t think the trip is an issue even if it’s the first time he is racing two miles. The preparation so far has gone smoothly.”

Botti also offered insight into Giavellotto’s owners, Scuderia La Tesa:

“For Giavellotto’s Italian owners, as you can imagine, it was a dream come true to have a home-bred good enough to go in a Classic in England. That was a huge run and they now are really looking forward to this experience. It will be the first time they have a runner in their colours in Dubai. The daughter, she has a lot of passion and lives at the stud they have in Italy and oversees them since they were born. It’s like a dream.”

British trained horses at the Dubai World Cup 2023:

Al Quoz Sprint



Al Dasim

George Boughey

Happy Romance

Richard Hannon


Charlie Hills

Flaming Rib

Hugo Palmer

Dubai Gold Cup




Marco Botti


Marco Botti

Al Qareem

Karl Burke


John & Thady Gosden


Charlie Johnston


Hughie Morrison

Get Shirty

David O'Meara

El Habeeb

Kevin Philippart De Foy


Ian Williams

Dubai Turf



Lord North

John & Thady Gosden

Sir Busker

William Knight


David O’Meara

El Drama

Roger Varian

Sheema Classic




Ralph Beckett


John & Thady Gosden

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