The 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival gets underway at Meydan this evening with the first of 11 meetings, culminating in Dubai World Cup night on Saturday March 30.
On an evening presented by Longines, there are seven races highlighted by the opening rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge.
The Thoroughbred version has been elevated to Group 2 status this year, while the Purebred Arabian equivalent is a Group1 contest and the first race on the card. Both races are over 1600m on the All Weather track.
Ten have been declared for the Thoroughbred Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 with Godolphin doubly represented by Saeed bin Suroor saddling Out Of Bounds and Mahmood Al Zarooni relying on Fulbright.
Godolphin racing manager, Simon Crisford said: "Out Of Bounds was with Godolphin before and was a promising horse in America who has been off just over a year now, but Fulbright is a new recruit. We are looking forward to starting off Fulbright in what looks a competitive race and the Dubai World Cup Carnival is always a very important part of our year.”
Doug Watson trains Barbecue Eddie, twice a course and distance winner already this season but stepping up in class. The American-born handler said: “He has won well on both occasions and proved he stays 1600m well. This is obviously a lot tougher but we were ruled out of the Godolphin Mile late on last year and that is his target again this year.
"We will find out a lot on Thursday but we have a good draw and I am looking forward to running him in this class.”
The horse is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose retained jockey, Paul Hanagan has elected to ride Mufarrh for Champion Trainer, Ali Rashid All Raihe, according to a Dubai Racing Club release.
Hanagan explained: “We actually have three in the race but Mufarrh made a very pleasing comeback when third having been off the track for over a year. That was a good run as was his previous one when second in the 2011 Godolphin Mile and I expect a big run from him.”
International flavour is added by UK raider Fanunalter trained by Marco Botti, the Pat Shanahan-prepared Colliding Worlds from Ireland and Bahrain’s Muraweg, who is conditioned by Fawzi Nass.
The main Thoroughbred support race is the 1,800m Al Rashidiya Trial and nine have been declared, including another Godolphin new recruit in the shape of the Bin Suroor-trained Sharestan.
“Sharestan is also making his first start for us in the Al Rashidiya Trial and he too has been going well at home,” said Crisford.
Al Raihe’s 2010 Group 1 Dubai Duty Free winner, Al Shemali looks a big danger, along with Rerouted, trained by South African Mike De Kock, by far the most successful international trainer in the history of the Carnival.
However, it may be that So Beautiful is a bigger danger for Watson, Hanagan and Sheikh Hamdan. Watson explained: “He is a really nice horse having his first start for us and we have been looking forward to running him as he is an exciting prospect and a great addition to our yard.”
The same connections also combine in the Group 1 Purebred Arabian version of the Maktoum Challenge Round1 with Quite A Show who was a course and distance winner last time when giving weight to his eight rivals.
Watson said: “That was a good effort last time under the penalty. Again this is obviously a better race but he meets them on level terms. Areem has been in great form and Tzar Du Paon is a new horse to the Emirates with good form but we are very hopeful.”
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