Godolphin are aiming to maintain their domination of the Dubai World Cup Carnival as they look to end the seven-week festival on a high on Super Saturday.
The royal blues have claimed 17 prizes while their closest challengers – Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Fitriani Hay and Nasir Askar – have won two races each.
This weekend sees a seven-race card at Meydan, with Godolphin having a presence in all of them barring the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal – the prep race for the Group 1 Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup night.
The highlights of the meeting are the two Group 1s – the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 and the Jebel Hatta, the prep races for the Dubai World Cup and the Dubai Turf.
Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubai Mirage is Godolphin’s sole flag-bearer in the 11-runner Al Maktoum Challenge.
The Dubawi gelding under Frankie Dettori is making his dirt debut after occupying the runner-up spot in his last two turf handicaps starts at the carnival meeting.
“Dubai Mirage has run well on the turf so far this season, finishing second on both occasions, and we wanted to give him a chance on the dirt,” Bin Suroor said.
“This will be a very tough race but he has been going nicely at home.”
Challenging Dubai Mirage are Satish Seemar’s quartet and Salem bin Ghadayer’s trio, along with Doug Watson’s Thegreatcollection and Bahraini Fawzi Nass’ in-form Salute The Soldier, winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2.
Godolphin has a trio in the Jebel Hatta, a prize they have won six times out of the last eight runs.
Charlie Appleby, the carnival’s leading trainer, has Al Suhail, the choice of stable jockey William Buick and Art Du Val. Bin Suroor sends out Royal Marine with Dettori in the saddle.
Al Suhail is making his first appearance since winning by six lengths in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes over a mile at Newmarket’s July Festival.
“Al Suhail had a setback after winning at Newmarket and subsequently we have had our eye on a Dubai campaign for him,” Appleby said of the Dubawi colt.
“His preparation has gone well and he did a nice racecourse gallop at Meydan last week. We are hoping that he can run a decent race with an eye on going on to the Group 1 Dubai Turf later in the month, so we expect him to come on for the run.
“We have no doubt about his ability to run at this level, but he just needs to keep his head together.
“Art du Val ran a creditable race over this course and distance in the Singspiel Stakes and was also very competitive in the Zabeel Mile last time out.
“We think the return to nine furlongs is going to suit and, while he doesn’t look out of place in the field, he will need to up his game again to be in the mix.”
Royal Marine was victorious in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere as a two-year-old in 2018, the son of Raven’s Pass stayed on in fifth after missing the break on his seasonal return in the Listed Zabeel Turf at the end of January.
“Royal Marine always works well in the mornings, when he shows some real class, but we would like him to start displaying it again in his races,” Bin Suroor said.
“He has won at this level in the past, but it’s a case of seeing how he gets on.”
The British raiders, Simon Crisford’s Court House and David O’Meara’s globetrotting Lord Glitters are two to be noted along with Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s Eqtiraan, the choice of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s retained jockey Jim Crowley, from the owner’s three entries.
Meanwhile, Jebel Ali will stage their penultimate meeting, a mixed seven-race card, on Friday.
Published: March 5, 2021 10:38 AM