Saturday’s ninth meeting of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse is highlighted by the fifth running of the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, a 2,810m turf contest for which 12 have been declared, including last season’s Dubai Gold Cup star, Cavalryman.
Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor won the inaugural running of this contest with Age Of Reason and saddled Ahzeemah to win last year’s renewal.
This year he has two runners with Cavalryman, winner of last year’s Dubai Gold Cup on Dubai World Cup night, the choice of Silvestre De Sousa with stable companion, Statutory, to be ridden by William Buick.
Cavalryman, having his first start of the season, has not won since his big-race Meydan success in March, while Statutory will be having his second start for the trainer, having been well beaten in a 2435m handicap just over three weeks ago.
Bin Suroor said: “Cavalryman has been working well and we are very happy with him. Obviously it is his first run of the campaign and he is going to improve from it but he should run a good race.
“Statutory was perhaps a bit disappointing last time but will have come on for the run and he too is going nicely at home. We hope to see an improved effort.”
Fellow Godolphin trainer, Charlie Appleby, saddles Buckwheat who made a promising debut for the yard 16 days ago. “We were pleased enough with that first run,” said Appleby. “We want to try him over this longer trip to see how well he stays and it would be nice to think he might be a Dubai Gold Cup prospect.
“We are on a learning curve with him and this well tell us a lot.”
The Mike De Kock-trained Star Empire was third in this race 12 months ago and has two good efforts in defeat to his credit this year. He is the mount of Christophe Soumillon.
“It looks a good race,” said De Kock. “There is plenty of strong Dubai World Cup Carnival form in there and we also have some really good horses having their first starts of the season.
“Hopefully there will be a good gallop as he really needs a strongly run race.”
Irishman Michael Halford is having a fantastic 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival, with four winners already, and relies on Certerach, runner-up in this race last year and winner of his penultimate start this season. Regular jockey, Shane Foley is again in the saddle.
Ireland is particularly well represented and Simenon, a first UAE runner for legendary trainer, Willie Mullins, better known for his National Hunt runners, has to be respected.
A dual Royal Ascot winner in 2012, he has not won since but was an excellent fifth in last year’s Group 1 Hong Kong Vase, having contested the Japan Cup prior to that, after an excellent fourth in the Melbourne Cup.
He is also a first ride of the 2014 UAE season for former UK Champion Jockey, Ryan Moore.
Saddler’s Rock also represents Ireland with the John Oxx-trained runner seeking a first win since landing the Group 2 Goodwood Cup in 2012. He was fifth in this contest last season before finishing seventh behind Cavalryman in the Dubai Gold Cup.
One place in front of Oxx’s charge in that Dubai World Cup night feature was Jutland, trained locally by Doug Watson who enjoyed a Carnival winner on Thursday night courtesy of My Catch.
Winner of last year’s Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship, Watson’s charge has not really fired in five starts this season.
Watson said: “He is fit and well with fitness on his side. He really showed his best form about this time of the year last season so hopefully it will be the same this time.
“We think he will run well.”
Throw in UK raiders Moment In Time and Renew and this really looks a cracking renewal.
Five competitive handicaps make up the rest of the Meydan Sobha-sponsored card.
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