International

Back

Godolphin firepower on display at Friday's Meydan meeting

Galvanized by the news that they have been nominated for a record eight Eclipse Awards in North America, Team Godolphin will be looking to continue their formidable form in the second week two of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse on Friday, January 21.

The evening, which sees the return of Pillar Partner Azizi as the overall sponsor, is highlighted by two Group 2 contests – the Al Rashidiya and the Al Fahidi Fort.

Godolphin boasts a phenomenal record in the 1,800m Al Rashidiya, an early prep for the Group 1 Dubai Turf on Dubai World Cup night, having won the last five renewals with stable favorites, including Promising Run, Benbatl and Barney Roy.

Having entered five runners, it would appear that the home stable is keen to take home another Al Rashidiya trophy; the race is named after a historic locality in Eastern Dubai.

The quintet is led by the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Bedouin’s Story (Frankie Dettori), winner of the prestigious Cambridgeshire two starts back. A winner once at Meydan, he wasn’t disgraced when finishing second to Shadwell’s Mostahdaf in the Group 2 Darley Stakes at Newmarket in October.

The all-conquering Emirati handler is also represented by Desert Fire (Hector Crouch) who was third in last season’s Group 2 Dubai City of Gold on Super Saturday.

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Bedouin’s Story continued to show some very strong form in the UK last year, winning the Cambridgeshire and finishing second in the G3 Darley Stakes. He has been doing well out in Dubai and this looks a good starting point for his year.

“Desert Fire always seems to run his best races as a fresh horse. He looks to be in good condition and has run well over this distance in the past.”

As formidable as the Godolphin team appear to be, danger lurks in the form of David O’Meara’s ‘horse of a lifetime’, Lord Glitters.

The nine-year-old, who has been wintering in Dubai for the last two seasons, showed the benefit of catching some sun when he traveled to Bahrain to capture the Group 3 Bahrain International Trophy in November.

Meanwhile, Godolphin stable jockey William Buick’s decision to opt for Art Du Val over two other Charlie Appleby contenders, Highland Avenue (Mickael Barzalona) and Royal Fleet (James Doyle), would hint that he is the pick of that trio.  

Appleby commented: “Art Du Val proved a consistent horse in Dubai last year and we gave him the summer off with another season at the Carnival in mind. He goes into this race in good order and will be very competitive if he brings his ‘A-game.

“Highland Avenue started his three-year-old career in good form but he was disappointing on his two most recent starts. He has been gelded since and we are looking to rekindle some of his old spark. We feel that track conditions at Meydan will suit and this hopefully gives us a gauge for the rest of the Carnival.

“Royal Fleet has progressed through the handicap ranks and we are testing the water at this level.”

Ismail Mohammed was the last locally-based trained to win the Al Rashidiya, in 2007 with Formal Decree, but in-form handler Bhupat Seemar is hoping to end that wait with French recruit Partenit (Tadhg O’Shea) who makes a challenging UAE debut.

Appleby saddles classy Naval Crown and La Barrosa in the Group 2 1400m Al Fahidi Fort, with Bin Suroor represented by last year’s winner Land Of Legends and Storm Damage, who is three from four.

Naval Crown was an eye-catching fourth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last year before finishing second to stablemate Creative Force in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Appleby said: “Naval Crown showed good, solid form as a three-year-old and has enjoyed a nice break ahead of the Carnival. He looks great and will obviously be very competitive if he runs up to his best form.

“La Barrosa enjoyed a nice break since being gelded. We were pleased with his first start of the winter earlier this month and he has definitely come forward for the outing.

Commenting on Land Of Legend’s defense of the Al Fahidi Fort, Bin Suroor said: “Land Of Legends has been improving with every piece of work. He won this race on his first start of the year last season and we are hoping for another good effort.”

The Dubawi Stakes, over 1200m on dirt, is the third Group race on the card and champion UAE handler Doug Watson looks to have not one but two big chances with classy sprinters, Al Tariq and Canvassed.

Watson commented: “They’re both in really good form. Obviously, Al Tariq has run already this year and Canvassed is having his first start since World Cup night, but has gotten stronger overall. He’s had some great preparation so we’re pretty pleased with both of them.”

Friday’s action-filled card also features a matchup of UAE Derby hopefuls in trials for the UAE 2000 Guineas and Jumeirah Derby Trial, a new race over 1800metres on turf.

Quotes

Al Fahidi Fort
20:20 TB Group 2 1400m Turf

Charlie Appleby, (Naval Crown and La Barrosa):  “Naval Crown showed good, solid form as a three-year-old and has enjoyed a nice break ahead of the Carnival, He looks great and will obviously be very competitive if he runs up to his best form.

“La Barossa enjoyed a nice break since being gelded. We were pleased with his first start of the winter earlier this month and he has definitely come forward for that.

“We feel that dropping back to seven furlongs is going to suit, although he needs to overcome a wide draw in stall 12.”

Saeed bin Suroor (Land Of Legends and Storm Damage): “Land Of Legends has been improving with every piece of work. He won this race on his first start of the year in 2021 and we are hoping for another good effort.

“Storm Damage ran well in the UK last season and I have been pleased with him in Dubai. This distance will suit him better and we expect him to run well.” 

Erwan Charpy, (Spirit Of Light): “It’s a tough race, but the way Moqtarreb ran the other day (2nd, Zabeel Trophy) make us think that if he can show that kind of form he will do well. He’s progressing nicely on turf and we are looking forward to running him.”

Ahmad bin Harmash, (Story Of Light and Ventura Rebel): “Ventura Rebel came to us from Richard Fahey’s yard in the UK and has been training very well. I hope with a bit of luck he can do well. 

“Story Of Light is a real fighter and he always goes out there looking to do his best so we expect him to put in another honest effort. 

Al Rashidiya
19:45 TB Group 2 1800m Turf

Charlie Appleby (Art Du Val, Highland Avenue, and Royal Fleet): “Art Du Val proved a consistent horse in Dubai last year and we gave him the summer off with another season at the Carnival in mind. He goes into this race in good order and will be very competitive if he brings his ‘A-game.

“Highland Avenue started his three-year-old career in good form but he was disappointing on his two most recent starts. He has been gelded since and we are looking to rekindle some of his old spark. We feel that track conditions at Meydan will suit and this hopefully gives us a gauge for the rest of the Carnival.

“Royal Fleet has progressed through the handicap ranks and we are testing the water at this level. He has a profile that is going the right way and we feel that stepping up to nine furlongs could potentially produce more improvement.”

Saeed bin Suroor (Bedouin’s Story and Desert Fire): “Bedouin’s Story continued to show some very strong form in the UK last year, winning the Cambridgeshire and finishing second in the Darley Stakes (G3). He has been doing well out in Dubai and this looks like a good starting point for him this year.

“Desert Fire always seems to run his best races when fresh. He looks to be in good condition and ran well over this distance in the past. 
 
Dubawi Stakes
20:55 TB Group 3 1200m Dirt

Bhupat Seemar, (Freedom Fighter and Bochart): “Freedom Fighter is a nice horse from America who is making his first start for us. He has shown plenty of speed and speed to burn. He stays longer and this is a good place to start him.

“Bochart has drawn wide but he is a front runner and should get into a good position. It’s going to be a race with a lot of early speed and that should benefit him.”

Doug Watson, (Al Tariq and Canvassed): “They’re both in really good form. Obviously, Al Tariq has the run so far this year, and Canvassed is having his first start since World Cup night but has gotten stronger overall. He’s had some great preparation so pretty pleased with both of them.”

Mussebeh Al Mheri (Ibn Malik): “He’s a horse we like a lot and is a very consistent performer. We’re very happy with his first run this season where he finished the race very strongly. We’re looking forward to running him against some of the top sprinters.” 
Share/Bookmark