This evening’s fourth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival is a quality one highlighted by a pair of Group 2, $250,000 turf features, the Al Fahidi Fort (Race 5) and Al Rashidiya (Race 3), which each produced subsequent winners on Dubai World Cup night in 2018.
A new race, the $100,000 Al Bastakiya Trial (Race 2) for 3-year-olds hoping to make it to the UAE Derby (G2) over the same course and distance, adds significant depth to the evening. The six-race card, which also features a trio of lucrative, competitive handicaps, is sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium and will have a first race post time of 6:30 p.m.
Thirteen have been declared for the Al Fahidi Fort sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium (Gr2) and it promises to be one of the most informative races thus far of the Carnival, with a strong Godolphin representation facing formidable opposition from a good locally trained team.
International runners from as far afield as Europe, Australia and South Africa make this arguably the most enthralling race of the night.
South African Mike de Kock, the most successful trainer in the history of the race, introduces new recruit Marinaresco, who will be having his first outing in a year.
Formerly trained by Candice Bass-Robinson, the 6-year-old Silvano gelding won the 2017 Durban July (Gr1) and looks an exciting addition to De Kock’s string at Blue Stables.
He is joined in the field by stable companion Janoobi, owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was second in this last year before winning the Zabeel Mile (Gr2).
“Marinaresco has settled in well and has been pleasing us,” De Kock said. “We have brought him along steadily with this race in mind and he is ready for a run, but will improve for it. We are taking the same route as last year with Janoobi, who certainly needed his first run, as was the case last season. Hopefully he can run another big race.”
Trainer Chris Waller, who conditions the darling of the racing world, Winx, will have his first UAE runner in Go Bloodstock’s Comin’ Through. A 5-year-old gelding by Fastnet Rock, he has won at the highest level, having landed the 2018 Doomben Cup (G1) last May over 2000m, but also has a Group 2 victory over 1400m.
The distance should be fine for him while he’s fresh,” Waller said. “He’s had a number of good wins over it. While the (barrier nine of 13) draw isn’t perfect, we’ll see how the race is run on the night. He is a horse who keeps (trying) and is hard to pass.”
Linngari (2006/07) and Safety Check (2015/16) both defended their Al Fahidi crowns and Championship, trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, bids to join them as a dual winner of the race, having landed the spoils in 2017.
The 8-year-old gelded son of Exceed and Excel followed that victory by landing the Zabeel Mile (G2), but has only raced three times since, including a close second in the 2018 Zabeel Mile. Last year, he was well beaten in this race on his comeback from an injury-enforced layoff.
“He has not taken much racing lately, but we are very happy with him,” Bin Harmash said. “His work has been very good and this race has always been the plan for his return.”
Lansky, owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds, is an interesting addition to the Sandeep Jadhav yard and has always been held in the highest regard since winning on debut as a juvenile at Windsor in August 2017. A 4-year-old gelding by Dark Angel, he finished that campaign with a victory on the all-weather at Kempton, but has only run twice since.
Jadhav said: “He arrived with us fit and ready to go, so we have not had to do much with him. He is a nice horse and we are looking forward to running him.”
Anaerobio (2014, De Kock) and Safety Check (2015, Charlie Appleby) both won a 1400m turf handicap on the opening night of the Carnival before taking the Al Fahidi Fort and this year Another Batt, a first runner in the UAE for George Scott, will attempt to join them.
He was chased home on Jan. 3 by Top Score, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and one of four Godolphin contenders in this. Fellow Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby has saddled three of the last four winners and has D’Bai, Bravo Zolo and Mythical Magic. First rider James Doyle has chosen to ride D’Bai, a Carnival winner last season. The 2018 Al Fahidi Fort was won by Appleby’s Jungle Cat, subsequently winner of the 1200m Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on the Dubai World Cup card.