Barney Roy Anchors Thursday's Meydan Group Action

Barney Roy | Racing Post

2017 G1 St James's Palace S. hero Barney Roy (GB) (Excelebration {Ire}) makes his Dubai debut in the grassy G2 Al Rashidiya over 1800 metres at Meydan on Thursday, as the Dubai World Cup Carnival takes another step toward Super Saturday and then Dubai World Cup night itself. One of four in the race for Godolphin, the Charlie Appleby-trained gelding who made an abortive attempt at stud in 2018, won the Listed Prix de Montretout at ParisLongchamp last May. He was a last out eighth in the G1 Queen Anne S. at Royal Ascot and has been off since.

“He had that summer campaign [in 2019] and we purposely gave him a break with the Carnival in mind,” Appleby said. “Where we are at the moment, we are working backward from the [G1] Jebel Hatta and obviously Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) not being declared now has opened that race.

“If he were to bring his 'A-game,' or whatever he does Thursday evening, he's going to step forward for it,” he concluded. “He's the class animal in the field there and he might just be good enough to get away with that slight lack of race fitness on Thursday. Hopefully that'll springboard him onto Super Saturday.”

Joining him are: stablemate 2018 G2 Grand Prix de Deauville victor Loxley (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) and from the Saeed bin Suroor yard, 2019 G1 Jebel Hatta victor Dream Castle (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Listed Godolphin S. winner Mountain Hunter (Lonhro {Aus}).

Mike de Kock's G1SP Majestic Mambo (SAf) (Mambo in Seattle), third to Benbatl in the G2 Singspiel S. on Jan. 9, wheels back on seven days' rest after running down the field in a Jan. 23 2410-metre handicap.

Thursday also sees the running of the G3 Al Shindagha Sprint over the main track. Meydan veteran and crowd favourite Drafted (Field Commission) made a strong late move in the G3 Dubawi S. on Jan. 2, but could not overcome the fine efforts of Gladiator King (Curlin) and Dec. 5 Listed Garhoud Sprint winner Ibn Malik (Ire) (Raven's Pass) that day. The Doug Watson trainee, who bears the colours of Misty Hollow Farm and won this contest in 2019, is aiming for a better exit from the stalls and leaves from gate five.

“He was a little ring-rusty and broke really slow in the Dubawi,” Watson explained. “We know he'll come from off the pace with his style, but he was too far back. He had also missed some training with a foot issue, so we were very happy with the way he ran and the way he closed. Since then, he's had a really good couple pieces of work and I'm hopeful for a good run.”

Sitting on a three-race winning streak, Swedish wunderkind/GSW I Kirk (Swe) (Eishin Dunkirk), who won a local handicap last January and was sixth in the G3 Mahab Al Shimaal on Mar. 9, returns to Meydan. The Susanne Berneklint trainee swept a pair of Swedish listed affairs on either side of a conditions race on May 19, July 14, and June 26, respectively. He leaves from stall four.

2018 G1 Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee (GB) (Farhh {GB}), weighted 132lbs, gives his rivals anywhere from nine to 15 pounds in the Listed Meydan Cup. Transferred from Mark Johnston to Salem bin Ghadayer for this 2810-metre Meydan turf bow, the Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohd Al Maktoum runner has filled the frame in five Group 1 contests and was a last out third in the G1 Prix du Cadran on Oct. 5.

“I checked all of the [DWC Carnival] programme and there was only one race just he could run in right now,” Bin Ghadayer said. “I spoke to the boss and we decided to run him. We would like to run him in Saudi before the [$1.5-million G2] Dubai Gold Cup and we need a race before that. He will need the race. He's about 70% ready and after this we will see about Saudi and then the Gold Cup. I just hope for a good race and for everything to go alright.

“I'm happy with how he's accepted the program here, which is very different from the Johnston yard. Some horses need time to acclimatize, but he's a professional. He is a little lazy. If I showed you how he gallops, you would think he's a 45-rated horse—an average horse—but he's a different horse in the race and he has that experience. He is smart and he knows training isn't racing. Sometimes it's better to have the lazy horse than the keen horse, because they take care of themselves. Like I like to say, 'a lazy horse is a sound horse.' I'm happy with how he's improved since he arrived and I couldn't ask for anything more.”

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