Appleby Aiming For Consecutive Singspiels At Meydan

Charlie Appleby sends out a strong team of runners for Friday's stakes action at Meydan | Megan Ridgwell


The AED850,000 1800-metre G2 Singspiel S. presented by Longines is the headliner among five stakes races on Meydan's nine-race Friday card.

Godolphin runs three from the Charlie Appleby yard, and the reinvigorated Ottoman Fleet (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) is coming into the race off two consecutive seconds in the December's G2 Al Rashidia and January's G1 Jebel Hatta to stablemate Measured Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}). He is joined by multiple stakes winner Naval Power (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}) and Highland Avenue (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}).

“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.”

Jamie Osborne is enjoying a fruitful winter in the Middle East with his runners, and he sends out Sean (Ger) (Excelebration {Ire}) to improve one spot after a second to Warren Point (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G3 Dubai Millennium S. on Feb. 2.

“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.”


Care To Dance?

Only seven fillies signed on to Friday's AED850,000 1800-metre G2 Balanchine Presented by Longines on grass, and Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby will saddle three of the septet. William Buick has elected to ride the four-for-five Sapphire Seas (GB) (Frankel {GB}).

A listed winner at Yarmouth in September, the daughter of Pure Diamond (GB) (Street Cry {Ire})'s only blip on an otherwise perfect resume was a fourth-place finish at first asking. Her paternal half-sister English Rose (Ire) has wins on both the grass and all-weather, but her unbeaten run was derailed with a runner-up performance to stablemate Silver Lady (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) in the G2 Cape Verdi over 1600 metres on this course on Jan. 19.

“Sapphire Seas looks the filly they all have to beat,” Appleby, who has won the race five times commented. “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.”

Hugo Palmer trainee Stenton Glider (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) will aim to improve two spots after running third in the Cape Verdi. Runner-up in a pair of group races earlier in her career, the 4-year-old leaves from gate three with Jim Crowley at the controls.

“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.”


Oaks Laurels & Derby Pointer In The Offing

The central pillar of the AED700,000 G3 UAE Oaks on Friday is the two-for-two Manama Gold (Star Guitar). After a trial at Meydan in November, she trotted out a 2 1/2-length winner of the Storm Coaster conditions race in December, prior to a 9 1/4-length tour-de-force in the Cocoa Beach S. over 1600 metres on Jan. 19. Named a 'TDN Rising Star' that day, the Victorious runner towers over her rivals in this 1900-metre affair for trainer Fawzi Nass.

“She's very exciting,” said jockey Adrie de Vries. “She's still improving and developing and came out of her last race really good. She's got a long stride and she's very relaxed, so I'm not concerned about [the distance] at all.”

The rest of the field has already been defeated by the golden chestnut at least once, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum's Mizzyaan (Justify) was fourth in that January contest, her only start to date. However, if she continues to progress in the manner of her famous Triple Crown-winning sire, she could be a danger.

Classic-bound males get their chance in the Listed Al Bastakiya Presented by Longines, a prep for the G2 UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night at the end of March. Bhupat Seemar trainee Falcon Of Arabia (Speightstown) is aiming to protect his perfect record in the 1900-metre test over the Meydan dirt, but a pair of South American colts could make his life difficult. Haras Bage Do Sul's Quartier (Uru) (Matterhorn) has won half of his eight starts and was third in the G2 UAE 2000 Guineas, two better that the re-opposing Oasis Boy (Arg) (Asiatic Boy {Arg}) in fifth in January.


A Chance At History?

No horse has ever won the AED700,000 2810-metre G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy Presented by Longines more than once, and on Friday, Godolphin's Siskany (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) is aiming to be the first from a rail draw. He won the Listed Al Khail Trophy over this trip on Jan. 26.

“Siskany came out of the Al Khail Trophy well and his record around Meydan speaks for itself,” said Appleby of last year's G2 Dubai Gold Cup second. “We are hoping that he can produce another strong performance and book his ticket for the Dubai Gold Cup.”

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