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Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Classy field for mile


The 1,600m Group 2 Zabeel Mile is the official feature on a high-class Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan on Thursday, which also includes the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 2,810m.

At a meeting kindly sponsored by the Commercial Bank Of Dubai, both features are on the turf and have attracted the maximum field of 12.


The Zabeel Mile was only introduced to the UAE calendar as recently as 2007 and South African trainer Mike De Kock is already seeking a fourth winner in the race.

He saddles Viscount Nelson who is penalised for his course and distance victory in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort and therefore has to give weight to his 11 rivals but his jockey, Kevin Shea is hopeful.

Shea said: "Obviously he has to try and give weight to 11 good rivals but we were delighted with his win in the Al Fahidi Fort as we thought he would need the run after a troubled preparation. It is a good race as you would expect but I am very hopeful of a big run."

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor saddles Sandagiyr, who won the 1600m Group 3 Firebreak Stakes earlier this month on his debut for the yard under Frankie Dettori, who maintains the partnership.

That was on the all-weather surface but he was a Listed race winner on turf in his native France and his handler said: "Reverting to grass will not be a problem and he has been in good form since his win. This is probably a stronger race but he should run well."

Singapore are well represented with both Dark Matter who, as the only three-year-old in the race receives weight from his rivals, and local debutant Gingerbread Man. Ted Durcan rides Dark Matter who won his first two Carnival starts, once on turf, once on the all-weather and both over 1400m, before defeat in the UAE 2000 Guineas over Thursday's trip.

Durcan explained: "He was a bit disappointing last time in the Guineas but we are well drawn and the return to turf is certainly not a negative. He has had three weeks between races and is in good form at home so, hopefully, will run well in a good race."

Singapore–based New Zealander Opie Bosson takes the ride of Gingerbread Man.

Dettori was spoilt for choice in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy with the Godolphin trainers responsible for five of the 12 runners. The Italian has elected to ride Fox Hunt whom he partnered to a handicap course and distance victory four weeks ago from Averroes who is again in opposition.

Dettori's mount is trained by Mahmoud Al Zarooni as is Opinion Poll, runner-up in this race last year behind stable companion Claremont, and Rostrum.

Al Zarooni said: "We have three nice runners but Fox Hunt won well first time and has the advantage of race fitness over Opinion Poll who is a real favourite in the yard as he always runs a good race."

Bin Suroor trains Modun who will be having only his second Godolphin outing having been purchased out of the UK-based Sir Michael Stoute's yard. The trainer said: "He has been working nicely and is a horse we are really looking forward to running this season. He will improve for the outing but should go well."

Saudi Arabia's Mashoor, British-trained Glen's Diamond, French raider Kasbah Bliss and De Kock's Irish Flame are others to consider in a wide open contest in which Jakkalberry, trained by English based Italian Marco Botti will be a big threat if staying a trip he has yet to tackle.




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