Lazuli Aims For Blue Point Sprint Double

Lazuli | Dhric/AK/DRC


The 2022 G2 Blue Point Sprint hero Lazuli (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) is back to defend his title for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby over this minimum trip on grass. Worth $180,000, the Blue Point is the 6-year-old gelding's second run of the season after defeating Man Of Promise (Into Mischief) in the Listed Ertijaal Dubai Dash on opening day of the 2023 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

“Lazuli is tried and tested over five furlongs at Meydan and this is his optimum trip,” said Appleby. “He is in great form and, even with his draw in stall one, he has speed horses around him and looks the one to beat.

“Man Of Promise ran a good solid race over this distance in the Ertijaal Dubai Dash and seems to be taking his racing better these days.”

Shadwell's Kuzaam (Kitten's Joy), who won the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint by two lengths last February, is hoping to rebound off of a seventh-place run in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night.

“Khuzaam has taken a bit of time to come around, but is really well,” said trainer Doug Watson. “The long layoff is a worry but he's a really nice horse.”

G2 Sapphire S. heroine Ladies Church (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}), the only filly in the field, could also be heard from in the Mark Dobbin silks. She was 17 of 19 in the G1 Flying Five S. over this distance at the Curragh on Sept. 11.

“She is in very good form, but like all our horses who travelled to Dubai this season, she will probably need her first run of the year,” said trainer Johnny Murtagh.

2021 victor Equilateral (GB) (Equiano {Fr}) is also signed on but has not won since taking that race for Mrs. Fitriani Hay and trainer Charlie Hills.


American-breds A Force Majeure In Guineas

The $150,000 G2 UAE 2000 Guineas run over 1600 metres on the main track sees nine American-bred colts and one Argentinean line up for one of the earliest Classics of the year.

No stranger to Meydan, trainer Doug O'Neill has sent the Calumet Farm-owned Tall Boy (Lookin At Lucky), who should run with credit, despite his maiden status. Out of the unraced Madame Mayra, the colt enters with a fourth-place run in the GII Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 17.

“The reason he's in Dubai is because we think he's capable of being pointed to the [G2] UAE Derby [on Mar. 25],” said Leandro Mora, assistant trainer to Doug O'Neill. “He has two GI Kentucky Derby points already and we like him because he's run three tough races against Bob Baffert horses. He's a gentle giant with a lot of talent. We think this race might suit him as he loves the surface at Meydan.”

Charles Fipke homebred Shirl's Bee (Bee Jersey) is aiming to maintain his perfect record after running out a track-and-trip victor in a Dec. 23 maiden race.

“Shirl's Bee would be the most interesting of our runners on Friday,” said Doug Watson, who has been named champion trainer in the Emirates seven times. “He has been training well and we like him a lot. He has a good draw and we're really looking forward to seeing him run.”

Tamarkuz colt Tiger Nation has an even dearer record to protect, as he made a winning debut at Jebel Ali on New Year's Day, before running out a 1 1/4-length victor of a 1400-metre conditions affair on Jan. 13. The main question is the step up in distance for the Sheikh Hamden bin Mohammed Al Maktoum-owned bay.

“Tiger Nation came out of the Guineas Trial well,” said Salem bin Ghadayer. “He has a wide draw [9] but he has natural speed and we're hoping he can control the race and be there or thereabouts.”


Large Godolphin Contingent Ready For “Business”

Shining Blue (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) is one of four bearing the royal blue in the Listed Business Bay Challenge over 1400 metres on turf, and he is part of a Saeed bin Suroor trio mustered for this test. A last-out winner over course and distance defeating the re-opposing Spirit Of Light (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) on Jan. 20, he carries a red-capped Daniel Tudhope and they break from stall four. Bin Suroor also sends listed winner Major Partnership (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) and 2021 G2 Al Fahidi Fort hero Land Of Legends (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB})

“Shining Blue won nicely in a handicap over this course and trip last month, said bin Suroor. “He has done well since and is ready to go again. Land Of Legends has won a big race over this distance in the past and we wanted to give him a chance back over seven furlongs as he displays plenty of speed in his races. Major Partnership never shows a great deal in the mornings but I'm hoping he is saving it for the racecourse.”

However, the blue cap is bestowed on Modern News (GB) (Shamardal) from the Charlie Appleby barn. A listed winner at Windsor last June, the 5-year-old gelding has also been placed three times in group company, including when second in the G3 Sovereign S. at Salisbury in August. He weakened to sixth after setting the pace in the G2 Zabeel Mile here on Jan. 20.


Curlin S. Springboard To Dubai World Cup

The race re-named in honour of the dual American Horse of the Year, Curlin, who won the 2000-metre Jaguar Trophy H. in 2008 one start before his G1 Dubai World Cup victory, has attracted a field of one dozen aspirants for the $12-million big dance on Mar. 25.

On rankings, Salem bin Ghadayer trainee Hypothetical (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) towers over the field at 112. The 2022 G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 hero was last seen finishing seventh in the Dubai World Cup at the end of March.

“I need to give him one race before [the] Maktoum Challenge Round 3 on Super Saturday,” said bin Ghadayer. “He has a wide draw and top weight, but it's a prep race and he's 80-85% fit.”

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