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22 May 2024

Godolphin’s Lovely Pass bids for UAE Oaks success

Godolphin’s Lovely Pass, ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi and trained by Mahmoud al Zarooni winning the UAE 1,000 Guineas. (Dubai Racing Club)

By Staff

The Group 3 UAE Oaks is the highlight of Thursday’s eighth meeting of the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival and Godolphin trainer, Mahmoud Al Zarooni, will be hoping his UAE 1,000 Guineas heroine Lovely Pass can complete the fillies’ classic double, according to the Dubai Racing Club.

Al Zarooni won this race for the first time last year with Falls Of Lora and is responsible for two of the nine declared runners this year with Lovely Pass joined in the 1,900m all-weather feature by Music Chart, who was third in the 1,600m Guineas having won the 1,400m trial on her local debut.

Lovely Pass, who has also beaten her stable companion in England, did not run in the trial and was having her first UAE start in the first fillies’ classic when running on too strongly for Shuruq, also owned by Godolphin but trained by Saeed bin Suroor and who also chased home Music Chart in the trial.

“They are two nice fillies,” said Al Zarooni. “They have both come out of the Guineas well and shown they handle the all-weather. Hopefully they will stay the trip and be very competitive.”

Bin Suroor has won this race, which along with the whole card is generously sponsored Commercial Bank Of Dubai, on no less than seven occasions.

He not only saddles Shuruq but also Mar Mar, fourth in the Guineas and the trainer said: “Shuruq always tries her best and her last piece of work was very good. The step up in trip should suit and also Mar Mar who showed a lot more last time.”

Remarkably, all nine declared runners also contested the UAE 1,000 Guineas with the Mike De Kock-trained Emotif, fifth on that occasion, perhaps the most likely to reverse form with Lovely Pass.

This will be only her third career start having won easily on debut in South Africa but suffering a setback on arrival in the UAE and thus missing the trial.

“She is still short of full fitness,” explained De Kock. “She was a month behind our other horses having been very ill and missing a lot of work. She is fitter now and will stay the trip no problem but she will again improve from this run.”

The main support race is the Listed Meydan Classic, a 1,600m turf race restricted to three-year-olds. The 1,400m trial was won by the David Marnane-trained Elleval who was produced with a telling late challenge by Fergal Lynch.

The extra 200m should suit and Marnane said: “He did well to win the first day as he did not get the clearest of runs. The step up in trip should suit and he has improved quite a bit since then so we are expecting another big run.”

Luhaif, trained in the UK by Mick Channon, tried to make all on that occasion and was only headed close home, eventually finishing third, while fellow English raider Deauville Prince was fourth in the UAE 2,000 Guineas on his local bow and takes a drop in class here.

Al Zarooni saddles both local debutant Now Spun and Filfil, fifth in the trial, with jockey bookings suggesting the former, the mount of Mickael Barzalona, is their main hope. A winner once in England, this will be only his third career start.