Stars Collide – Meydan Hosts World Cup Preps

Meydan first off at 15h30

The Gr2 Singspiel Stakes is the highlight of five Pattern races at Meydan Racecourse as the Dubai Racing Carnival hosts a fabulous Friday card.

The 1800m event, a prep for the Gr1 Dubai Turf over the same course and distance, was won last year by Valiant Prince and his trainer Charlie Appleby runs three, with stable jockey William Buick opting to partner Ottoman Fleet, second to stablemate Measured Time in the Gr1 Jebel Hatta last time out. Front runner Highland Avenue is the mount of Richie Mullen, with Mickael Barzalona on 2023 Jumeirah Classic winner Naval Power.

A big prep meeting looms! (Pic – DRC)

“Ottoman Fleet probably brings the most consistent form over the course and distance into what looks a competitive race,” said Appleby. “It was always the plan to come here following a strong run in the Jebel Hatta.”

“Naval Power had a few minor setbacks last year but has been training well. This looks a nice starting point to see where we are before taking him back to Europe.

“Highland Avenue has a bit to find with Ottoman Fleet from the Jebel Hatta and Al Rashidiya but he is an honest performer and I am sure he will run his usual race.”

British trainer Jamie Osborne is already having a Carnival to remember thanks to Ouzo’s two wins and he runs Sean, a close second to Warren Point in the Gr3 Dubai Millennium Stakes three weeks’ ago.

“Sean has thrived during his stay in Dubai,” said Osborne. “I’m full of hope that we haven’t yet seen the best of him. It’s a very tough race and it will require a lifetime best, but I don’t think it’s impossible we will see one on Friday.”

Another British-based trainer who has been in the winner’s enclosure recently is Lucia Botti and she pitches in Royal Dubai, successful in a handicap two weeks’ ago.

“He seems to love to train on the dirt and he is improving with each race here in Dubai,” she said. “We are aware that this race is the most competitive of the Carnival, being the last over this similar distance, but Saeed Al Rahoomi [owner] wanted to take this step up in class after his game win last time.”

Brits take on the Balanchine

The Gr2 Balanchine, over the same 1800m but for fillies and mares, has been won for the past six seasons by Godolphin. Appleby runs three, with Yarmouth Listed winner Sapphire Seas the pick of Buick. Barzalona rides Cape Verdi runner-up English Rose, with Mullen on Shining Jewel.

Appleby, who has won this race five times, made it clear who the first string is, telling Godolphin.com “Sapphire Seas looks the filly they all have to beat. She was a good winner of a Listed race on her latest start. It’s her first appearance of the year but this will hopefully be a springboard to a nice European campaign.

“English Rose has definitely come forward since the Cape Verdi and I feel that she will appreciate racing over nine furlongs. Stepping back up in trip should suit Shining Jewel as well and we are applying a tongue-tie to her.”

Among those trying to break the Godolphin stranglehold is British trainer Hugo Palmer. He runs Stenton Glider, a good third in the Cape Verdi.

“We were very pleased with the run of Stenton Glider in the Cape Verdi,” said the Classic-winning trainer. “It was her first run since August, after the first real break she had in her life.

“The Cape Verdi and the Balanchine were always the plan when we came to Dubai. She is a maiden winner who has been placed in four Stakes races so she has the quality. She needs to keep plying her trade in Stakes company to become a Stakes winner, so the Balanchine was always going to be her second target.

“She does have a tentative entry in the [Gr1] Dubai Turf on World Cup night but she will have to win the Balanchine and win it well to go there.”

Gold goes for Oaks Glory

The last two winners of the Gr3 UAE Oaks have gone on to run in the Gr1 Kentucky Oaks, so eyes will be trained on Manama Gold to see if she follows the same path.

Fawzi Nass’s unbeaten filly, successful in the Cocoa Beach Stakes last time, faces five rivals in the 1900metre dirt contest and will be ridden by Adrie De Vries.

“She’s very exciting,” said the jockey. “She’s still improving and developing and came out of her last race really good. She was a bit long in her coat when she started here but she looks fantastic now.

“I think the further the better for her. She’s got a long stride and she’s very relaxed, so I’m not concerned about [the distance] at all.”

Among Manama Gold’s rivals are Doug Watson’s Mizzyaan, a good fourth on debut last time out despite missing the break.

Mizzyaan’s owner Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum also runs Auto Bahn in the Listed Al Bastakiya, race four, which is the second leg of the UAE Triple Crown and a prep for the Gr2 UAE Derby.

The Asiatic Boy colt was second to the re-opposing Falcon Of Arabia two weeks ago and is one of two in the race trained by Julio Olascoaga, who also sends out UAE 2000 Guineas third Quartier.

“Both horses have shown in their previous starts enough quality to compete at the level of a Triple Crown in the UAE,” said the trainer. “We are happy and confident they’ll run a big race. They both arrive sound and in good condition, which we believe is key at this stage.”

Of Falcon Of Arabia, Managing Owner Paul Ebbs said: “He’s drawn in stall six and is a speedy type so he will find a prominent position. They key will be to campaign for the 1900 [metres] trip as it is unknown territory. His last run was over seven [furlongs, 1400metres] and the time was just short of the track record so he’s very versatile.

“The distance is a concern but as long as he stays he should be in the shake up.”

Siskany’s bid for History

Appleby has won the 2810m Gr3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, race seven, five times. However, his Siskany could make history if following up his 2023 win as no horse has won it twice.

“Siskany came out of the Al Khail Trophy well and his record around Meydan speaks for itself,” said Appleby of last year’s Dubai Gold Cup second. “We are hoping that he can produce another strong performance and book his ticket for the Dubai Gold Cup.”

Appleby also runs New London, whose career highlight to date is a second in the 2022 St Leger at Doncaster.

“New London has proved slightly disappointing lately,” he added. “We are applying cheek-pieces this time to hopefully produce a bit more encouragement.”

The all-Thoroughbred nine-race card begins at 15h30 with a 1000m turf handicap in which Simon and Ed Crisford’s Vespasian, winner over course and distance last month, looks a leading contender.

  • First race is off at 15h30.

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