SA Stayer Steps Out At Meydan This Evening

Final meeting before Super Saturday

This evening’s ninth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival, the final Carnival fixture before next weekend’s Super Saturday card, is highlighted by the Gr3 $300,000 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, the local prep for the Gr2 $1.5 million Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors on Dubai World Cup night—one of the world’s top races for stayers.

This card also features the Listed $160,000 Curlin Handicap, which has been used as a prep by two Dubai World Cup winners.

Mike de Kock only has two runners on the card – one being former SA Champion Stayer Hermoso Mundo who has his first start in Dubai.  He finished unplaced behind It’s My Turn in the 2018 Gold Cup at Greyville at the end of last season and is bound to need the outing.

De Kock’s other runner is Baroot, who runs in the same race.

Hermoso Mundo is likely to need the run

Two more races on the undercard could produce Dubai World Cup night horses, including the Meydan Trophy (Listed) over 1600m on turf for sophomores (Race 2), as well as the Gr1 $95,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 for Purebred Arabians, which kicks off the seven-race night.

A select field of seven have been declared for the Gr3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One a 2810m turf marathon and prep for the 3200m Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup. Godolphin is responsible for four of the runners, headed by bona fide Group 1-level runner Brundtland.

Godolpin trainer, Charlie Appleby (left)

As a 4-year-old and youngest horse among the septet, Charlie Appleby’s charge receives weight from his six rivals as he seeks to get back to winning ways after a luckless fourth-place finish—when almost knocked over—in the 3000m Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak at Chantilly on Oct. 28. This was the same trip over which he had previously won the Group 2 Prix Chaudenay on Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp. The Dubawi colt won his only start as a juvenile and his next three outings last year before the race at Chantilly, thus coming into Thursday’s affair an intriguing possible star of the future. William Buick will be aboard from the outside post, which should not be too much of an imposition with a nearly 650m run to the first turn.

“Brundtland is a dual Group 2 winner who ran very well when probably a bit unlucky in a Group 1 race on his most recent start,” Appleby said. “We have freshened him up and he looks to have progressed from (age) three to four. This is a prep race for his main target, the Dubai Gold Cup on the Dubai World Cup card, so we are expecting a fair amount of improvement from this run, but he is classy and we expect him to be very competitive.”

The main danger could come from Appleby’s other contender, Ispolini, to be ridden by Mickael Barzalona. He won on his latest outing, a handicap over this 2810m course and distance when partnered by James Doyle, who cannot make the weight this time. Prior to that, Ispolini chased home another Godolphin runner, Bin Battuta, the mount of Christophe Soumillon for Saeed bin Suroor, in a 2400m handicap on opening night of the 2019 Carnival. Soumillon’s mount looked as though he would appreciate the return to this longer distance, (over which he was second at York in August 2017), when only third in another 2400m handicap three weeks after his victory.

Bin Suroor said: “Bin Battuta has been running well over 2400m, but we think this trip will help him and help us plan ahead with him. He is in good form and should hopefully run well in what looks a good race.”

International interest is provided by Scandinavian invader Suspicious Mind, second to Ispolini over course and distance on his local debut. The 6-year-old will again be ridden by Elione Chaves for Andrew Kidney and has won 12 of his 25 lifetime starts. The field is completed by veteran stayer Zamaam, seven-time winner Pinzolo and Red Galileo, a Godolphin runner with marked ‘seconditis,’ having finished a runner-up in 12 of 35 starts, including his last two.

SALTARIN DUBAI winning the 2018 Curlin Handicap (credit: Dubai Racing Club and Andrew Watkins)

Inaugurated in 2008 under a different title and eventually named for the horse for whom its condition was originally written, the 2000m Curlin Handicap sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One (Listed) has not been won twice, but that could change when Satish Seemar-trained Saltarin Dubai defends his crown. Etijaah could also regain a title he won in 2017, as he appears a main danger in the field of nine.

Get the racecard here

A Gr1 winner in his native Argentina, 6-year-old gelding Saltarin Dubai opened his local account when landing this race one year ago and doubled his UAE tally, also over this course and distance, five weeks ago in the Jebel Ali Trophy.

Trained by Doug Watson for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Etijaah also landed The Entisar (Listed) over the same 2000m in December 2017, his seventh and most recent local success. Watson also saddles Galvanize, always held in high regard by his trainer and an easy winner, in December, over 1600m at Meydan on dirt.

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