Colts Line Up for UAE 2000 Guineas as Carnival Continues at Meydan

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Naval Crown | Racingfotos.com

The 1800-metre G3 UAE 2000 Guineas is one of two group races on the third card of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, and drew a sextet of entries led by Godolphin's Naval Crown (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The 104-rated bay, tops for the field, has never been off the board in five starts. Listed-placed at second asking at Ascot in July, the Charlie Appleby trainee graduated by 4 1/2 lengths in a 1400-metre York maiden on Aug. 21. His final two runs of the season were both thirds-in the Sept. 6 G3 Prix la Rochette at ParisLongchamp and when tiring after setting the pace in Saint-Cloud's G3 Prix Thomas Byron on Oct. 2. The 2000 Guineas is his dirt bow.

If the colt won, it would be a third UAE 2000 Guineas for Appleby, who said, “He is a solid little horse and we debated whether to keep him to turf or try the dirt, but his work at home, on dirt, has been very good, so we thought it was worth a crack.”

Next on ratings is Mouheeb (Flatter) from the yard of Nicholas Bachalard at 95. A winner at first asking at Jebel Ali in December, he was runner-up in a one-mile conditions affair locally on Jan. 14, one better than dual Meydan winner Zhou Storm (GB) (Due Diligence).

Bachalard said, “He had a very hard race in the trial, but seems to have come out of that in great shape, so we hope, he has a live chance.”

Also on Thursday is the G3 Firebreak S., which marks the return of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's G1SW Matterhorn (Ire) (Raven's Pass). The 6-year-old entire has progressed steadily through the ranks, and, after running third in this race last year, he stretched out in trip to take the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 by daylight on the front end in March.

Meydan veteran Kimbear (Temple City) receives a slight class break after running eighth in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on Jan. 21. The 7-year-old Doug Watson charge is a two-time group winner in the UAE after success in the 2018 G3 Burj Nahaar and 2020 G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1, with the re-opposing Secret Ambition (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) second both times.

Watson told the Meydan notes team, “He needed that first run, probably more than we realised, but is training very well and seems in great form. We have put a visor on him so, being drawn one, I guess we will have to be quite positive and go forward.”

The latter, who struck at the Group 3 level at Jebel Ali in January of 2019, reversed fortunes with Kimbear with a one-length score in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile in December of 2019. He is also a two-time Firebreak bridesmaid in 2019 and in 2020. Trained by Satish Seemar, the 8-year-old entire ran third in the G3 Jebel Ali Mile on Jan. 22.

Assistant trainer Bhupat Seemar said, “The Jebel Ali Mile was only 13 days ago, but he seems to have recovered well. Drawn widest of all in six is probably not ideal, but he has run well in this before and never has a bad race.”

The oversubscribed Listed Dubai Sprint is a six-furlong contest on turf, and Ekhtiyaar (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) represents the Doug Watson barn. Bearing the Shadwell colours, the gelding, a dual runner-up in the 2019/20 G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, returned to take fourth after a 320-day break in a handicap at Meydan on Jan. 21.

Richard Barnes's Could Be King (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) has been MSP at the listed level throughout his career and he added another runner-up effort in the Listed Testimonial S. at The Curragh in October. The gelding was a one-paced fifth, one behind GSP Silver Line (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and one better than MGSP Final Song (Ire) (Dark Angel {Aus})-both of whom run for Godolphin–in the Jan. 21 G2 Al Fahidi Fort for trainer Ken Condon.

Godolphin fields the majority of the entrants in the Listed Meydan Cup over 2810 metres of sod, with seven entered. MGSW Ispolini (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) was off the board in the Jan. 21 Listed Dubai Racing Club Classic most recently and looks to rebound for Charlie Appleby. French Group 3 winner Moonlight Spirit (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and listed winner Ghostwatch (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) are also signed on for Appleby. GSP Dubai Future (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) ran second in a listed handicap here on Jan. 21 for Saeed bin Suroor, while Global Heat (Ire) (Toronado {Ire}) saluted for the same yard in a Jan. 14 handicap.

Communique (Ire) (Casamento {Ire}), second in a German Group 1 this past fall for Mark Johnston, now races for Salem bin Ghadayer and bids to improve off a 12th in a listed handicap here on Jan. 21. MSP Chouain (Fr) (Rajsaman {Fr}) represents trainer Miroslav Rulec and won a Deauville contest on Dec. 27.

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