Carnival Action Heats Up in Dubai


Lord Glitters | Emma Berry

Friday marks the second week of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan in Dubai, and three group races are slated to go ahead, as well as two G2 UAE Derby preps on the seven-race card.

Godolphin fields a typically strong hand in the 1800-metre G2 Al Rashidiya Presented By Riviera Beachfront By Azizi on grass, which is an early pointer to the G1 Dubai Turf at the end of March. Aiming for a sixth consecutive renewal, the royal blue silks will be carried by a quintet from trainers-Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor. Appleby's listed winner Art du Val (GB) (No Nay Never) has been rubbing shoulders near the top table in his last three starts. Fourth in the G2 Singspiel S. last January, he added a third in the Feb. 18 G2 Zabeel Mile and in his latest outing ran a solid fourth to the re-opposing Lord Glitters (Fr) (Whipper) in the G1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday. Stablemate and listed winner Highland Avenue (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), will be making his first start since a gelding operation in the autumn, as will the four-for-five Royal Fleet (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}).

“Art Du Val proved a consistent horse in Dubai last year and we gave him the summer off with another season at the Carnival in mind,” said Appleby. “He goes into this race in good order and will be very competitive if he brings his 'A-game.”

Last year's G3 Dubai Millennium S. second Bedouin's Story (GB) (Farhh {GB}) ran second in his most recent outing–the Oct. 9 G3 Darley S. after dwelling at the start.

Bin Suroor said, “He has been doing well out in Dubai and this looks like a good starting point for him this year.”

Charismatic grey battler Lord Glitters appears ageless, and his Jebel Hatta victory was accomplished at the age of eight. Now nine, the Geoff and Sandra Turnbull silksbearer scored a win in the G3 Bahrain International Trophy in late November for trainer David O'Meara.

The trainer said, “He's in good form and has obviously had a good winter so far after winning over in Bahrain. He seemed to get on very well in Dubai last year. He won the Singspiel and was third in this race under a penalty and then won the Jebel Hatta. Hopefully he can do something similar this year.”


Storming the 'Fort'ress

The 1400-metre G2 Al Fahidi Fort Presented By Mina By Azizi, also takes place on the grass. Saeed bin Suroor saddles the 2021 scorer, Land Of Legends (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}), who ran out a handy winner exactly a year ago. Only fifth in the 1351 Turf Sprint on Feb. 20, the gelding has been benched since another fifth-place run in the G1 Dubai Turf on Mar. 27. The three-for-four Storm Damage (GB) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) enters this test on the back of consecutive Newmarket wins in July and August.

“Land Of Legends has been improving with every piece of work,” said bin Suroor. “He won this race on his first start of the year last season and we are hoping for another good effort. Storm Damage ran well in the UK last season and I have been pleased with him in Dubai.”

Charlie Appleby's listed winner Naval Crown (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) was fourth in the G1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas on May 1 and just failed to last in the G3 Jersey S. at Royal Ascot on June 19. The colt is aiming to improve off of an eighth-place finish in the July 11 G1 Prix Jean Prat. He is joined by the group placed La Barrosa (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), who was gelded prior to running third in a Meydan conditions race on Jan. 7.

Appleby said, “Naval Crown showed good, solid form as a 3-year-old and has enjoyed a nice break ahead of the Carnival. He looks great and will obviously be very competitive if he runs up to his best form.”


Septet Signed on For Dubawi S.

The Doug Watson-trained duo of Group 3 winners Canvassed (Ire) (Shamardal) and Al Tariq (Fr) (Oasis Dream {GB}) loom large in the G3 Dubawi S. sprinting 1200 metres over the Meydan main track. Victorious in the G3 Mahab Al Shimaal last March, Canvassed returned on Dubai World Cup night to take third after making a late run in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. His stablemate was first past the post in the Feb. 18 G3 Al Shindagha Sprint over this track and trip and, after running sixth in the Golden Shaheen, already sports a win this season. He eked out a win in a conditions race at Jebel Ali on Nov. 26.

Watson commented, “They're both in really good form. Obviously, Al Tariq has run already this year and Canvassed is having his first start since World Cup night, but has gotten stronger overall.”

Bhupat Seemar's Freedom Fighter (Violence) makes his desert debut on Friday. The 4-year-old was second in the GII San Vicente S. at Santa Anita last term and was most recently fifth in an allowance optional claimer at Del Mar on July 17.


UAE Classic Pointers

The 1400-metre UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Presented by Al Furjan By Azizi marks the 3-year-old return of Grade I victor Albahr (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). Gelded after winning a Haydock novice last June, he rattled off another Haydock win in July and battled his way to a score in the Listed Stonehenge S. a month later. The Charlie Appleby-trained 3-year-old triumphed in the GI Summer S. at Woodbine on Sept. 19, but was scratched at the gate of the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in November.

It will not necessarily be a cakewalk for Albahr, as he faces the unbeaten winners Kiefer (Brz) (Drosselmeyer), who is three-for-three in Uruguay including at the listed level, and the once-raced Mujeer (Violence), who won at Meydan on Dec. 2.

Second in the lineup on Friday is the Jumeirah Derby Trial Presented By Park Avenue By Azizi. Conducted over 1800 metres on turf, this new race attracted Listed Silver Tankard S. winner Mr Professor (Ire) (Profitable {Ire}), the stable star of trainer Alice Haynes. Since that victory, the 3-year-old gelding finished with interest to take third when debuting at Meydan just seven days ago on Jan. 14, one spot behind Sed Maarib (American Pharoah). A trio of Godolphin winners are also slated to take part–Nader (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}), Island Falcon (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) and New Kingdom (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}).

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