It is probably only fitting that the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes, one of three pattern races on Thursday’s card, heads the way of Godolphin; it would be more apt if Saeed bin Suroor was the trainer but he would have to concede that his colleague, Charlie Appleby, holds a very strong hand and will be very difficult to beat. Due off at 19:40 and the third race on the card, First Nation looks the one they all have to beat, the choice of William Buick and the form of his handicap win on his reappearance handsomely franked with the subsequent victories of the second and fifth. He fairly shot clear on that occasion and whilst the win may have caught connections by surprise with him being only the third string on that occasion, there was absolutely no fluke about the victory at all.
He should again get a decent pace to aim at with his stablemate Spotify likely to take them along. He will need to improve in this better race having had a soft time of things in beating Sharpalo last time, that one beaten in handicap company last week. Oasis Charm is another Charlie Appleby winner of his last start in the field (Team Talk behind in second) whilst don’t discount the fourth string to Appleby’s bow in the form of Vintager who will be making his debut for the team and was progressive in the UK last year for a different yard. The main Saeed bin Suroor challenger looks to be Racing History who has run two solid Group races this season whereas all his rivals are up in grade.
He was placed on both occasions behind Dream Castle and the extra 200m won’t be an issue at all. He isn’t as progressive as the aforementioned Appleby runners but at least sets a Group level standard for the others to aim at. A strong renewal of the Zabeel Mile headlines the card, this carrying Group Two status, and there is actually a solid challenge up against Godolphin with Simon Crisford’s Century Dream leading the way on ratings. He was last seen finishing third to Roaring Lion on Champions Day at Ascot, also running a good fourth in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot but you would have to say these efforts were coming in a weak mile division in Europe.
For Godolphin and Appleby, William Buick has opted to ride Mythical Magic who is certainly progressing and ran well on his reappearance when second to D’Bai but it is perhaps a bit of a surprise he isn’t on Wootton who brings a solid level of Group class form to the table and will be making his debut for the stable. Fourth in the French 2000 Guineas and third in the St James’s Palace Stakes, he perhaps didn’t go on from that as expected but looks a fascinating new recruit for the Appleby yard. There is also international representation in the form of Comin’ Through and Marinaresco and both should improve a lot for their first runs, whilst the first and second from last year, Janoobi and Championship, are also in opposition.
This looks a tougher renewal however and I will stick with Wootton to make a winning UAE debut despite what the jockey bookings might suggest. The UAE Oaks features largely the same field that contested the UAE 1000 Guineas, Silva very impressive that day in winning by almost ten lengths but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect a drastic turn round in form. She was drawn in stall four then and is now in ten for starters, whilst it was such a big effort first time that it isn’t hard to envisage some sort of regression. Couple that with the fact the second, Divine Image, should improve a lot for her first run and I will take the Godolphin filly to emerge on top.
She was very slowly away on that occasion, which of course she could be again, but it was just her second start and she certainly did more than enough to suggest she handled the surface. Al Hayette and Razeena were two notable disappointments in the 1000 Guineas and better showings from either wouldn’t surprise. The card kicks off at 18:30 with a 1400m dirt handicap and this can go to African Ride who has slowly but surely been getting to grips with the dirt surface. He has been keen on occasions but his third to Capezzano was a step in the right direction and hopefully plenty of use will be made of him from stall two.
Satish Seemar hasn’t had many carnival runners but those he has run have largely gone close and granted a better getaway, Bochart should give them something to catch. Usually so reliable at the gates, he stumbled badly last time and is much better than that. The 1200m handicap on turf looks tough, but Legendary Lunch is hard to ignore given his current vein of form. He won HH The President Cup last time and can reverse recent course form with Riflescope with the draw essentially his undoing that day. Dream Today is a big danger having travelled like a dream on his most recent start, this race looking slightly easier if anything although he could have done with being drawn a bit higher if recent sprints over the straight course are anything to go by.
The finale is also on the turf and Symbolization is expected to be far straighter for his reappearance when only fourth behind Nordic Lights. A big horse, he ran on into fourth that day and remains well handicapped based on some very useful 3yo form. Bedouin’s Story is tricky, but talented when everything clicks and it is probably only a matter of time before it does.
Race 1: African Ride
Race 2: Legendary Lunch
Race 3: First Nation (NB)
Race 4: Divine Image (Nap)
Race 5: Wootton
Race 6: Symbolization