Meydan Hosts First Matinee Meeting

Sunday - first off at 12h30

Connections will be hoping to uncover some promising Dubai World Cup Carnival prospects when racing makes a quick return to Meydan on Sunday for a domestic fixture sponsored by long-time Dubai Racing Club Pillar Partner, Emirates Airline.

The seven-race card, which comes hot on the heels of Friday’s action-filled Carnival fixture, is highlighted by the Emirates Airline Handicap, a 1600 metre contest on turf, which has attracted some high-class horses.

Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby, who scored a double two nights ago, once again looks to have serious claims with Valiant Prince (William Buick) who is heading the international markets.

The gelded four-year-old son of prolific Godolphin stallion Dubawi was last seen winning a novice race by a margin of nine lengths last September on Chelmsford’s Polytrack. A reproduction of that effort should see him take a lot of beating, although he does have a wide draw in 15 to overcome.

Assessing Valiant Prince’s chances, Appleby said: “We like him and hope he is still improving. He is in good order at home and this looks an ideal chance to find out where we stand with him regarding the Carnival.”

Other hopefuls in the race include the Doug Watson-trained pair of Aquaman (Andrea Atzeni) and Mcmanaman (Pat Dobbs) and Nicholas Bachalard’s Abu Dhabi sixth Country (Richard Mullen).

Zabeel Stables’ crack pairing of Bhupat Seemar and Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea team up with UAE debutant Royal News, a lightly-raced French-bred who was an impressive six and a half-length winner of his maiden at Chelmsford two seasons ago when previously trained by Gosden.

In a full field of 16 runners, some international flavour is added by South African raider Magical Land (Ronald Woodworth), who was an unlucky runner-up on his first UAE start earlier this month, and Simon Crisford’s 2020 Meydan victor Franz Kafka (James Doyle), who will need to overcome a 696-day sabbatical if he hopes to make an impression en-route to the Carnival.

Formerly trained by Appleby, for whom he won a handicap at Newmarket in the UK last July, new handler Mike De Kock is hoping that a step up in trip will secure the desired results for Magical Land who narrowly failed to collar Appleby’s Silent Film in a 1400m Meydan turf handicap just over a fortnight ago.

The champion South African trainer commented: “He ran very well first time for us and would have won in another few metres, so the extra trip here should be ideal. We are hoping for another big run but it does look a very competitive race.”

Emirati handler Salem bin Ghadayer sent out Rawy to win the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial on Friday and will be looking for more success in the Emirates Skycargo Handicap over 1900 metres on dirt with Book Review (Mickael Barzalona), who won a Meydan handicap last year in January.

Watson is responsible for five in the race, including the international favourite, Far Sky (Pat Dobbs), who posted a good effort when third behind Sanad Libya two weeks ago.

Watson also sends out Winners Club (Sam Hitchcott), Pharoah King (William Buick), Celtic Striker (Richard Mullen) and Mulfit, a course winner in November.

The best of the dirt action is a 1900m handicap in which Mickael Barzalona rides Book Review from a pair of Salem bin Ghadayer runners for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

The other, Untold Secret, will be partnered by Royston Ffrench and both would appear to hold genuine claims in another wide open race.

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