DWCCarnival Update Vol. 29 | News, Notes & Profiles | June 17, 2019

Lord Glitters, Blue Point Top 11 Meydan Runners On Royal Ascot Day One

Eighty days after the world came together at Meydan Racecourse for Dubai World Cup Day, international racing’s collective gaze shifts to England’s Ascot Racecourse, where the globe’s top grass horses convene for the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting. Staged over five days of six races each, Tuesday through Saturday, the action commences at 2:30 p.m. local time (5:30 p.m. UAE) with the final fixture going off at 5:35 p.m. (8:35 p.m.), including eight Group 1s. Dubai-connected horses will be in action throughout, giving UAE racing fans plenty for which to cheer.

The action kicks off at full tilt on Tuesday, with three Group 1 affairs and no less than 11 declared with 2019 Meydan form, including Geoff and Sandra Turnbull’s Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1) third-place finisher Lord Glitters. A mere 1¾ lengths astern world-class filly Almond Eye that day, the hard-trying grey should be respected in this spot after coming up a half-length short in second last year after a strong closing finish. The David O’Meara-trained 6-year-old gelded son of Whipper also owns a course and distance victory in the 2017 Balmoral Handicap and was a respectable sixth, beaten 2¾ lengths by Roaring Lion, in last fall’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1). Last out, in his lone 2019 race aside from the Dubai Turf, he was a troubled 13th behind Mustashry in the Lockinge Stakes (G1) at Newbury.

“He didn’t get any cover at Newbury and raced too keenly. He’s in good form and loves Ascot,” O’Meara said. “With the recent (wet) weather we have been getting, it’s all a positive for him, as well as the style of the way the Queen Anne is run. It will suit him. We are expecting him to run his race.

“Last year he ran very well,” he continued. “I think he’s every bit as good or better than (2018 winner) Accidental Agent. He then went on and ran a very good race to finish third in the Sussex Stakes (G1) at Goodwood and then beat Mustashry at York (in the Group 3 Strensall Stakes on Aug. 25). There are some bits and pieces of form in there that suggest he could have won this last year.”

O’Meara confirmed that the world traveller, who also went to Canada to finish sixth in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, could hit the road once again: “It’s one step at a time, obviously, but after this race, I think we will have a very similar schedule to last year. I’m not sure exactly where we will go, but it will be similar.”

Nine of Thursday’s declared runners raced during the Dubai World Cup Carnival, including Dream Castle and Mythical Magic, who will represent Godolphin in the first race of the meeting, the £600,000 Queen Anne Stakes (G1) over 1600m on the straight course. Dream Castle swept all three course and 1800m distance preps for the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1)—the Singspiel (G3), Al Rashidiya (G2) and Jebel Hatta (G1)—before floundering in the big event, but appears primed for a top effort after finishing fifth last out (beaten 1¾ lengths) in France’s Prix d’Ispahan (G1).

Charlie Appleby-conditioned Mythical Magic, who was a stylish winner of the Feb. 21 Zabeel Mile (G2) and was second in D’bai’s Al Fahidi Fort (G2) a month prior, hopes to reverse form after a lacklustre 12th in the Lockinge.

Favouritism could very well fall upon one of two horses with Dubai ownership in Godolphin’s Appleby-trained Barney Roy and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s aforementioned Mustashry—Group 1 winners who both exit impressive victories. The latter appears in career form after annexing the aforementioned Lockinge for trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

Sheik Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s Sharja Bridge and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Matterhorn have outside chances and must be respected as trainees from the top yards of Roger Varian and Mark Johnston, respectively.

The Tuesday card continues with the £150,000 Coventry Stakes (G2) over 1200m and arguably the top 2-year-old race of the week. Dubai-based ownership will be on display with Godolphin’s highly regarded Appleby trainee Well of Wisdom and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Johnston-trained Monoski. The latter may be of particular interest as he progresses, as he has a dirt-friendly pedigree and would not be a surprise to see trying the Meydan dirt over the winter. The son of Darley’s Kentucky stud Street Boss was a start-to-finish winner at Pontefract last out on May 24.

The star of the day for UAE racing fans is Godolphin’s Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1) champion Blue Point (above), a three-time 2019 Meydan winner who starts as the co-favourite for the £500,000 King’s Stand Stakes (G1) over 1000m—a race he won last year in impressive style. Once again he takes on the mercurial Battaash, wearing the Shadwell blue and white of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The rivals are considered two of the top sprinters in the world, making this one of the most anticipated rematches of the year. They will be challenged by the likes of late-charging U.S. sprinter Imprimis, champion Mabs Cross and promising sophomores Soldier’s Call and Sergei Prokofiev. Dubai-based Phoenix Thoroughbreds looks to knock off all of the favourites with longshot and 2018 Royal Ascot winner Signora Cabello, from the yard of John Quinn.

“Blue Point is in great order and it's going to be exciting," Appleby told Racing Post. "This is what racing wants—you want these good horses clashing. If Battaash and Blue Point turn up with their A-game, it's going to be a great race. I know Battaash has taken over as favourite and justifiably so on his reappearance win—he was very impressive—but I'm not frightened of taking him on again, that's for sure."

DWC Carnival runner Royal Marine, fourth as the favourite in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial in January, will look to reverse his recent form for Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor when the Group 1 winner takes part in the £500,000 St James’s Palace Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old colts over 1600m (round course). He must improve upon his 13th of 19 in the classic 2,000 Guineas (G1) on May 4 when he faces champion Too Darn Hot and Irish 2,000 Guineas (G1) winner Phoenix of Spain.

Melbourne 10 Racing’s Jamie Osbourne-trained Jukebox Jive is one of 20 declared for the Ascot Stakes, a £90,000 handicap over 4000m, while no less than three handicap winners from the DWC Carnival line up in the Tuesday nightcap, the £100,000 Wolferton Stakes over 2000m: Dubai Millennium (G3) third- and fifth-place finishers First Nation and Oasis Charm, as well as Dubai Turf 12th Mountain Hunter. The last named was a sharp winner of a Feb. 28 handicap over Zorion, who also lines up here. Of the Godolphin quartet, Bin Suroor trains Mountain Hunter, while Appleby conditions the remaining three.
Shadwell colour-bearer Elarqam (Mark Johnston) and Coolmore’s Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) fifth Magic Wand have strong claims here, while Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum’s Addeybb (William Haggas) and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s Willie John (Roger Varian) warrant respect in a race that appears an exciting ending to a brilliant day one of the royal meeting.

Remainder of the Week
Wednesday’s card features six declared horses who raced during the DWC Carnival, as well as four runners from Dubai World Cup night. Japanese Group 1 winner Deirdre, fourth and third in the last two editions of the Dubai Turf, lines up alongside Longines Dubai Sheema Classic runners Hunting Horn (fourth) and Desert Encounter (eighth) in the week’s richest race, the £750,000 Prince of Wales’s Stakes over 2000m, but the best chance with Dubai connections is possibly Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s Zabeel Prince, who exits a victory in the Prix d’Ispahan (G1) for trainer Roger Varian… Five DWC Carnival runners have declared for the Royal Hunt Cup, a £175,000 heritage handicap over 1600m, including David Marnane-trained defending winner Settle for Bay, who is owned by McGettigan’s Management of the popular Dubai chain of Irish restaurants. Godolphin’s Key Victory, HRH The Queen’s Seniority, 2018 Doomben Cup (G1) winner Comin’ Through (transferred from Australia’s Chris Waller to UK’s George Scott) and Joseph O’Brien-trained King’s Field also carry 2019 Meydan form into the popular affair… Coolmore’s I Can Fly, 11th in the Dubai Turf, returns to her own sex as one of the favourites in the Duke of Cambridge (G2) over the same trip at which she finished second in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1). Godolphin holds a hot 2-year-old filly hand with four declared from three different trainers in the £110,000 Queen Mary (G2), topped by Saeed bin Suroor-trained Final Song and Willie McCreery’s intriguing Ickworth… The ‘Blue Battalion’ also has the Appleby-conditioned pair of Jalmoud and Moonlight Spirit declared for the Queen’s Vase (G2), while Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum’s Symbolize has claims in the Wednesday nightcap, the Windsor Castle Stakes for 2-year-olds.

Thursday is all about one horse, Godolphin’s Melbourne Cup (G1) and Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2) winner Cross Counter, who looks to dethrone the world’s top-ranked stayer, Stradivarius, in the £500,000 Gold Cup over a testing 4000m. Another with a serious chance is Dee Ex Bee, runner-up last year in The Derby (G1) behind Masar for Mark Johnston and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum... The Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes over 2400m for 3-year-old fillies features promising John Gosden trainee Fanny Logan, who races for HH Sheikha Al Jalila Racing and carries the famous Darley maroon and white silks that so many great champions have adorned.

Friday’s card features a pair of Group 1s in which Dubai owners should factor heavily, topped by Jaber Abdullah’s Hello Youmzain, Shadwell’s Jash (Simon Crisford) and Khaadem (Charlie Hills), as well as Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Advertise in the £500,000 Commonwealth Cup for 3-year-old sprinters… Three-year-old fillies take the top-level stage in the £500,000 Coronation Stakes one race later, including Godolphin’s French 1,000 Guineas (G1) winner Castle Lady, from the yard of Henri-Alex Pantall, as well as Saif Ali’s Mark Johnston-trained German 1,000 Guineas (G2) winner Main Edition… Later in the card, Godolphin’s UAE Oaks (G3) runner-up Swift Rose is entered in the Listed Sandringham Stakes over 1600m and DWC Carnival winner Desert Fire is in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes over 2400m—both horses trained by Bin Suroor and both races worth £90,000.

Saturday’s entries are topped by Longines Dubai Sheema Classic winner Old Persian in the £225,000 Hardwicke Stakes (G2), but he is unlikely to run at this juncture. Still, Godolphin and Appleby will be well-represented by Derby winner Masar and the long-well-regarded Ghaiyyath—with the latter possible to go off favoured. Roger Varian and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum have two possible runners in recent Coronation Cup (G1) upsetter Defoe and hard-knocking campaigner Barsanti… Phoenix Thoroughbreds colour-bearer Sands of Mali will hope to come back to form in the lone Group 1 of closing day, the £600,000 Diamond Jubilee (G1) over the course and distance at which he won the British Champions Day Sprint (G1) in October, but Godolphin’s Andre Fabre-trained Inns of Court looms large, as does Saeed Manana’s favoured Invincible Army, the proverbial ‘now horse’ in a race that also could feature the likes of Saeed Suhail’s Dream of Dreams, Shadwell’s Yafta and HRH Princess Haya of Jordan’s Emblazoned… The Wokingham Stakes, an oft-popular heritage handicap worth £175,000 and contested over 1200m, has attracted a slew of entries from DWC Carnival alumni, including Freescape, Glenamoy Lad, Gifted Master, Intisaab, Cape Byron, Marnie James and Polybius.

Declarations are available 48 hours before race days.

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