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Town looks likely to strike Gold in Guineas

15/02/2018
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FIRST of two Dubai World Cup Carnival fixtures over the weekend, this evening’s seven race card is highlighted by the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas, with the Purebred Arabians also getting their chance, in the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah. Both races are over 1600m on the dirt. The official feature, the UAE 2000 Guineas is open to all 3yos, including, unlike most major racing jurisdictions, geldings and it was noticeable a pair of them landed both the trials, over 1400m on dirt. Trained by Charlie Appleby, Godolphin’s Gold Town could not have been more impressive, certainly visually, in winning the first of the trials with William Buick able to let his mount coast home throughout the last 100m.

Subject of a positive bulletin from his trainer before the carnival, the homebred, gelded son of Street Cry, winner of this race in 2001, certainly endorsed his handler’s opinion and it is hard to see any of those back in opposition reversing the form. His three runs since he was gelded, at the end of June last year, have been his best and, basically, he looks the one to beat this evening. Appleby won the race in 2014 with Long John, one of eight previous Godolphin winners of this first colts’ Classic of the campaign, which was first contested in 2000 when their Bachir landed the spoils.

He went on to win both the French and Irish 2000 Guineas, while their 2001 victor, Street Cry, would win the 2002 Dubai World Cup. Both were trained by Saeed bin Suroor whose six wins in the race is the record and one he will be hoping Racing Country can add to. Runner-up in the second of the trials, this homebred Dubawi colt actually remains a maiden after four starts, two in England as well as contesting the Meydan Classic Trial, over 1400m on turf, just last week. He certainly appeared to handle the dirt three weeks ago when he tried to make all before fighting back gamely when headed by El Chapo. 

Having his first start for Fawzi Nass, on his local and dirt debut, as well as initial appearance since being gelded, El Chapo certainly did nothing wrong and looks sure to be suited by the extra 200m here. His trainer can boast three 2018 carnival winners, from just seven runners and also celebrated a victory at Abu Dhabi last Sunday. For the ‘clock watchers’ among you, carrying 2kg more, El Chapo was 1.01 seconds slower than Gold Town whose victims included Wasim, fourth then and winner of the aforementioned Meydan Classic Trial seven days ago. Second to Gold Town was Roland Rocks, who chased the winner throughout, staying on strongly from the third, Roy Orbison.

Foaled in Argentina, the latter’s presence necessitated the weight differential in the two trials as he has to concede weight to his rivals foaled in the northern hemisphere. The same situation applies here so the rest are carrying the same 55kg as did Gold Town and Roland Rocks in the trial. Of those who did not contest a trial, Daffg, for Ahmad bin Harmash, could be the one to concentrate on having won a 1400m maiden, from Wasim, on his third and most recent outing. Second over today’s course and distance, as a juvenile against his elders in November, he stays this 1600m well and looks certain to be staying on. The 1900m Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday would look a great option for him if he runs with credit here. Meanwhile, over the same course and distance, the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah has a tremendous roll of honour, including six Kahayla Classic winners (although not always in the same year).

We are guaranteed a new name on the trophy this year with a select field of eight declared, including Mawahib who, as the only mare in the field, receives weight from the remainder. She actually went to Saudi Arabia for her latest start but, sadly for connections, parted company with Tadhg O’Shea virtually as the stalls opened. She arrived there having been victorious in her three previous outings, a sequence which began at Sharjah, on her second start of the campaign, when scoring in the HE Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Cup, in November. She then won, on turf, at Abu Dhabi before landing the 1900m Madjani Stakes, here on the Meydan dirt, in December.

The trip looks ideal, having made a winning debut over 1600m, at Al Ain, in December 2016, and, given the powerful squad at their disposal, it looks significant that the Al Asayl team of Sheikh Khalifa and Eric Lemartinel made just the one entry in this race. To be saddled by Ahmed Al Mehairbi, Cakouet De Bozouls was second over 1400m on this Meydan dirt track in the Group 2 Bani Yas, won by Al Asayl’s RB Torch, in December. That was his second UAE outing and, back at Meydan, he was then third in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 over this 1600m before, just last Sunday, staying on for third in the Group 3 Al Ruwais. Erwan Charpy won this in 2015, when it was contested in December, with his subsequent 2016 Kahayla Classic winner, Manark and relies on Cheik Roque.

Ridden by O’Shea, he was fourth in Saudi Arabia, on the same card Mawahib ran, last time and is certainly a well travelled performer; his six career wins have been evenly split between Abu Dhabi and England, but all on turf. His dirt efforts have yet to register a first three placing but this will only be a sixth try on the surface. He does, however, have ground to make up on both Cakouet De Bozouls and Mawahib. Actually, back to the latter, it is only fair to mention, Lemartinel and O’Shea combined to win the same two races (this and the Kahayla Classic) with Mizzna in late 2007 and March 2008. Doug Watson, seeking a third win in this race, introduces Foaad to local action but he would appear to have a bit to find on his dirt debut. However, he added Paddy’s Day to the field when the race was reopened on Tuesday and, winner of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1, over 1600m, he looks to hold major claims seeking career victory number 24.

Carnival handicaps are always competitive, especially on turf, and it was noticeable many of the likely key players were given more than one option, be it both on this card or an alternative on Saturday. This group included Best Solution and Golden Wood, each entered in such races over both 3200m and 2435m. They clash in the latter for which just six have been declared. Similarly, the entries for the 1200m turf handicap included Sir Maximilan and Dutch Masterpiece who both had the option of a similar race, over 1000m, on Saturday. They run here (the former in both races). Among their opponents, Jordan Sport looks sure to run well again for Fawzi Nass, his owner and trainer, having already won a turf handicap, over this trip, as well as a close second in a similar race over 1000m, to Dutch Masterpiece. Zamaam, Los Barbados and Red Galileo were first, second and third in the 3200m handicap last year and the trio clash again.

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10 May 2018
Issue Number: Issue 644
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Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
Nass’ trial and error style seems to be working wonders for him
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