Three horses who landed winners spots on the first Dubai World Cup Carnival night of last season could repeat the feat on Thursday on a high-quality seven-race card sponsored by the season’s Official Timekeeper, Longines.
The 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival gets underway at Meydan on Thursday evening after weeks of anticipation and Barbecue Eddie and the Purebred Arabian Areem will be seeking to repeat their 2013 victories in the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge while Fityaan bids for double glory in the Longines Master Collection 1000m sprint.
The Thoroughbred version of Al Maktoum Challenge RI carries Group 2 status and the Doug Watson-trained Barbecue Eddie, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, could become the first horse to not only win the race twice, but also to defend his crown.
Watson is hopeful of a big run.
“He is in great form at home and has certainly improved from his one run this season which he needed badly. He is now ten and owes us nothing but we hope he will run a big race, despite the widest draw,” he said.
Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, has won this race on no less than seven occasions and relies on Shuruq, the only filly in the race this year.
Bin Suroor said: “She won the UAE Oaks last year having been second in the UAE 1000 Guineas so the surface is ideal and trip is perfect for her first run back. She looks great and has been working well.
“She was a bit disappointing over the summer and has to take on the colts here but we have to be hopeful judged on her home gallops.”
Fellow Godolphin handler, Charlie Appleby, is saddling his first UAE runners and will be represented by Steeler who missed the whole of the 2013 season having been a highly progressive juvenile for Mark Johnston in 2012.
A Group 2 winner, he was last seen in competitive action in October 2012 when third in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy.
“We are very happy with him,” said Appleby. “Obviously he has been off a long time and will improve from this run but it looks the ideal place to start him back.”
South African Mike de Kock has twice saddled the winner of this race and has two runners this year, Rerouted and Daddy Long Legs. By far the most successful international trainer at the Dubai World Cup Carnival over the years, De Kock sounds hopeful as opposed to confident.
He said: “We are behind our normal schedule so expect all our runners to need their first run. Daddy Long Legs had a wind operation last year and ran well enough on his only subsequent start. This is the perfect place to bring him back and the same with Rerouted.
“He will definitely improve for the run and, with his rating, this is a good slot to get him back out.”
Ireland’s Ger Lyons saddles Brendan Brackan and said: “This horse has done nothing but improve and seems in great order. Obviously he has not been here long and we are basically running straight off the plane but we chose to do that as it has worked well for us in the past. We have a nice draw and expect a big run.”
A new addition to the Dubai World Cup Carnival calendar is the Listed Singspiel Stakes, held over the same 1,800m turf trip as the Group 2 Al Rashidiya Stakes and the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free held on Dubai World Cup day.
After the late defection of the David Marnane-trained Elleval who is said to be suffering from a temperature, 12 are set to face the starter, with the Mike De Kock-trained David Livingston conceding weight all round after his win in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock in August.
The South African also saddles Mushreq, a dual Dubai World Cup Carnival winner last year, and said: “They will both improve from the run and Mushreq showed last year how much he can improve for racing.”
The 1,000m sprint boasts last year’s winner, Fityaan in the field. Trainer, Musabah Al Muhairi has been in superb form this season and his runner had three outings before winning this race last term.
Fityaan will be running fresh this season in his attempt for back-to-back victories and Al Muhairi also saddles Rafeej in the race who is the selection of Sheikh Hamdan’s jockey, Paul Hanagan.
Meanwhile the Purebred Arabians will kick off the evening’s proceedings in the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 and Areem who won the Group 1 contest last year for trainer, Majed Al Jahouri bids to take home the title once again.
“This has always been the plan after the National Day Cup which we also won last year,” said Al Jahouri. “The 1600m is as far as he wants to go so he will be campaigned accordingly.”
Admission is free to the public areas of Meydan Racecourse and tickets start at Dh50, gates open at 5pm and the first race starts at 6.30pm.
For further details please contact: +971 4327 2110, email@example.com or click http://www.dubairacingclub.com/buy-now/race-season-tickets for online bookings.
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