A CLASSY all-weather performer, the John Gosden-trained Dubai Warrior is to fly to Dubai for an ambitious tilt at the 1600m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 at Meydan on Thursday week. Last year’s Group 3 Winter Derby winner will be heading into unknown territory as the contest is staged on dirt.
Although he has no experience of dirt, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Dubai Warrior has won six of his eight starts on the allweather, most notably when overcoming stablemate Court House to land the Winter Derby last February. This winter, Dubai Warrior was earmarked for a tilt at the Saudi Cup in Riyadh in February after winning the Listed Churchill Stakes at Lingfield in November, and that race could still be on his agenda.
Gosden said: “Dubai Warrior worked nicely on the Al Bahathri Polytrack on Saturday morning and the plan is for him to fly out to Meydan on Thursday. “Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge is staged on dirt, which will be new to him but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t handle it.”
A 4yo Dansili homebred colt, Dubai Warrior is out of Mahbooba, thrice a Meydan winner, initially in the 2011 Listed UAE 1000 Guineas on the previous Tapeta surface. A daughter of Galileo, she returned the following year to win twice on turf, highlighted by the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes.