Mike de Kock has a trio of runners in this evening’s ninth and penultimate meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, where 2017 Gauteng Guineas winner Smiling Blue Eyes has her second international outing.
De Kock saddles his three runners in the final event, the Al Naboodah Trade School Trophy, a turf handicap over 2000m for a stake of $125 000.
Christophe Soumillon rides the late maturing Dubawi, Baroot, who scored his fourth win from 16 starts for owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum on Saturday 19 February.
Bernard Fayd’herbe will partner the 8yo Sanshaawes, who has finished unplaced in his three runs this year so far. Highlands bred Smiling Blue Eyes is a class filly and she can improve over the extra on her fifth in the Cape Verdi in her first start in Dubai, when running on behind Promising Run.
The best of the turf races is the 2810m Nad Al Sheba Trophy sponsored by Al Naboodah Civil Engineering and features the return to Meydan of Vazirabad (post 10, Christophe Soumillon), winner of the 3200m Gr2 Dubai Gold Cup in each of the last two seasons. Trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre for HH Aga Khan, he was however, beaten in this last year by Godolphin’s Beautiful Romance, trained by Bin Suroor who saddles both Red Galileo (post 6, Pat Cosgrave) and Natural Scenery (post 4, Gerald Mosse) in opposition this year.
Bin Suroor said: “Vazirabad is obviously a very hard horse to beat but Red Galileo ran very well last time and should do so again. The trainer commented: “Natural Scenery was, to be honest, a bit disappointing last time when behind Red Galileo but is working well so we hope for a better effort.”
The official highlight on the dirt is the 1900m Gr3 UAE Oaks sponsored by Al Naboodah Construction, restricted to three-year-old fillies. This features a rematch between Winter Lightning (post 6, Patrick Cosgrave), Rayya (post 1, Pat Dobbs) and Expressiy (post 3, William Buick), the first three home in the 1600m UAE 1000 Guineas, as well as previously filling the same finishing order in the 1400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial.
Winter Lighting is trained by Saeed Bin Suroor who has saddled ten previous winners of the UAE Oaks which was first contested in 2001. The 3-year-old has raced just once as a juvenile in England, finishing second in a Newmarket maiden in October. She shed her maiden tag in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial, fighting hard to overhaul Rayya before beating the same rival comfortably in the UAE 1000 Guineas. Pat Cosgrave, in the saddle for both her Meydan wins maintains the partnership.
Bin Suroor said: “She has come out of her last race very well and her most recent piece of work was particularly good. She goes to Meydan in great form and we expect another big run from her.”
The final meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is next weekend’s Super Saturday, the dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup card three weeks later.