Six G1 Winners On Five Continents Top Thursday's Dubai World Cup Carnival Meeting

DUBAI (January 24, 2019)—Thursday’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.

AL FAHIDI FORT (Group 2 | $250,000 | 3yo+ | 1400m Turf)
Thirteen have been declared for the Al Fahidi Fort sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium (G2) 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 (G1) 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 (G2).

“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.

AL RASHIDIYA (Group 2 | $250,000 | 3yo+ | 1400m Turf)
Nine have been declared for the Al Rashidiya sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium (G2) with no less than six representing Godolphin. Fawzi Nass and David Simcock are the other trainers saddling runners in opposition. Charlie Appleby saddles three, headed by Blair House, winner of the Jebel Hatta (G1) on Super Saturday last year and, as was the case then, the mount of James Doyle. Of a Saeed bin Suroor trio, Dream Castle was the impressive winner of the Singspiel Stakes (G3) on the opening night of the Carnival and again has the assistance of Christophe Soumillon.

Simcock’s Arod was last in that Singspiel Stakes, but figures to improve, as his conditioner’s horses often do with racing at the Carnival. Deauville, seemingly the main hope for Nass with Adrie de Vries in the saddle, was just less than ten lengths behind Dream Castle, but his trainer has really hit form in the past two weeks. A well-travelled 6-year-old son of Galileo multiple Group 1 placings in some of the top races in the world, Deauville will be having is second start for Nass, having won four times for Aidan O’Brien, highlighted by his 2016 victory in the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1).

“He needed the race in the Singspiel quite badly and more than we thought he did,” Nass said. “We will definitely know a lot more this Thursday.”

AL BASTAKIYA TRIAL ($100,000 | 3yos |1900m)
A new race this year and over the same course and distance as Super Saturday’s $350,000 Al Bastakiya (Listed) and the UAE Derby (G2), the Al Bastakiya Trial has proven popular with horsemen and attracted a field of 15 with the weights headed by Grecko. Having his first start for the U.S. and trainer Kenny McPeek, the 3-year-old Not for Sale colt won both his starts in his native Argentina including on his latest outing in over 1600m in the Estrellas Juvenile (G1) at Palermo. Penalised as a dual winner, he is also the only runner in the field foaled in the southern hemisphere, so is conceding considerable weight to all 14 rivals, while also making his first start in six months.

American conditioner Steve Asmussen, who won the 2008 Dubai World Cup (G1) with Curlin, introduces Tone Broke to UAE action. The Broken Vow colt, foaled in Canada, arrives as the winner of two from five starts and was a gaining fourth in the $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile around two turns last out in December. A sizeable charge, he is ridden in the mornings at Meydan by Carlos Rosas, who was the exercise rider for both Curlin and 2017 Dubai World Cup runner-up Gun Runner.

The local challenge appears to be headed by Superior, winner of his only start for Ahmad bin Harmash and the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate. That was over 1600m in November and the 3-year-old Majesticperfection colt looked certain to benefit from that initial experience. Another garnering significant buzz is Bila Shak from the yard of Fawzi Nass, who was second in his only run, but that was behind divisional leader and Superior’s stablemate, Walking Thunder.
“He’s a nice horse,” Nass said. “I think he will need the distance and he has (improved) since his last run. Stepping up (from 1600m) isn’t a worry at all.”
Others of note in the race include Mark Johnston-trained Listed winner Victory Command, late-running Al Seel Legacy’s, from the always-dangerous yard of Doug Watson, and Estihdaaf, a son of Arch out of a Ghostzapper mare from Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin who will flex his dirt-friendly pedigree for the first time on said surface.

Remainder of Card
The opening 1000m turf handicap, the $175,000 EGA Billets Trophy, is virtually a rematch of the course and distance handicap on the first night of the Carnival in which Australia’s David Hayes-trained Faatinah defeated Ireland’s Darren Bunyan-conditioned Hit the Bid. Mike De Kock-trained Alfolk, a Group 3 winner three efforts back and 13 months ago in South Africa, carries the same Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum blue and white silks as Faatinah and should be expected to improve off his ninth-place effort in the same heat. Nine go to post.

Kenny McPeek-trained Senior Investment, third in the American classic Preakness Stakes (G1) in May 2017 over 1900m, makes his local debut with the conditioner having flown in from the U.S. to be on hand. A Grade 3 winner over 1700m at Keeneland, the tall chestnut son of Discreetly Mine tops the evening’s fourth race, a $135,000 2000m dirt handicap (EGA Jebel Ali Trophy), and was last seen finishing fifth of nine in the 2800m Grade 2 Marathon event over Breeders’ Cup weekend at Churchill Downs. Giving away 2.5-7kgs to his rivals on Thursday, the Pat Cosgrave-piloted charge may be vulnerable to the likes of Argentine Group 1 winner and 2018 Curlin Handicap victor Saltarin Dubai from the Zabeel Stables of Satish Seemar, as well as Watson-trained Tried and True, a Carnival handicap runner-up last out, and South Korean invader Dolkong, who should appreciate the step up in trip after a sixth of nine in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (G2) over 1600m.

Bin Battuta has lofty goals at the end of the UAE season, with his connections having circled the 3200m $1.5 million Dubai Gold Cup (G2) as his goal. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the son of Dubawi was another to win on that opening Carnival card and looks the one to beat in the finale, the $135,000 EGA Al Taweelah Trophy, a 2410m turf handicap. The form of his opening night victory was franked by runner-up Ispolini, victorious at Meydan last week. Others who may give him a fight include banner-mate Spotify for trainer Appleby, third in Group 3 company last out in September, and McPeek-trained Harlan Strong, who was second over about this distance in American Grade 3 company last summer and wheels back on a week’s rest to wear the same red, white and blue silks of Senior Investment.