By Geoffrey Riddle
Connections of Toast of New York believe the Dubai World Cup might be a better fit than the Pegasus World Cup, following his successful comeback after an absence of 1,130 days at Lingfield on Wednesday.
The six-year-old entire had not been seen since being beaten a nose by Bayern in the Breeders' Cup Classic of 2014 and, although jockey Frankie Dettori estimated his mount was 70 per cent fit, he still beat the 102-rated Petite Jack by an easy length.
Toast Of New York is a best-priced 50-1 for the Pegasus World Cup, the most valuable race on the planet at $US16m (£11.9m) which will be staged at Gulfstream Park in Florida on January 27. Gun Runner, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, is 5-6 favourite.
The $US10m (£7.4m) Dubai World Cup is staged on March 31 at Meydan, where Toast Of New York won the UAE Derby on the Tapeta surface in 2014. He is also 50-1 for what was formerly the richest race in the world.
"I think the Dubai World Cup would be very high on the list. Timing-wise it might suit better than a race like the Pegasus (World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park in January), but we'll see," Harry Herbert, racing manager to owners Al Shaqab, said.
There is a free nomination to enter the Dubai World Cup until late January, but to be declared will cost owners Qatari owners Al Shaqab $100,000 (£74,000). It currently costs $1million to enter the Pegasus.
Toast Of New York was bought by Al Shaqab Racing after that near-miss and was initially retired following a tendon injury when being prepared for the Dubai World Cup in 2015 and later had a spell at stud in Qatar. There remains a political standoff between Dubai and Qatar after Arab nations cut ties with Qatar in June.
Despite this Herbert has stressed that "everything" remains under consideration.
He said: "He's 100 per cent this morning, which is great news. Jamie is really happy with him.
"The legs are good and he's come out of it really well, which is fantastic. It's a remarkable journey so far and one of those extraordinary training feats as much as anything.
"Great patience has been shown by all Jamie's team and Jimmy (McCarthy), who looks after him and knows the horse like the back of his hand, has been a phenomenal asset as well.
"It's one step at a time. We've not made a decision yet, but everything is under consideration.”