Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Etisalat connects with Meydan’s Dubai World Cup Carnival this Thursday
The 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival continues at Meydan on Thursday night with a seven race programme, sponsored by Etisilat, featuring the opening rounds of the Maktoum Challenges for Thoroughbreds and Purebred Arabians. Both races are 1600 metre contests on the all-weather track.
In the thoroughbred division Mendip, winner of the race 12 months ago, will be one of three to carry the familiar blue colours of locally based powerhouse Godolphin stables.
Godolphin's other trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni, with three 2012 Carnival winners to his name already, relies on Xin Xu Lin, fifth in last year's UAE Derby on his first start for Al Zarooni. A multiple Group One winner in South America he, like Mendip, has been given the summer off and Al Zarooni explained: "He ran well for a long way in the UAE Derby before tiring so we have freshened him up and he seems in really good form. The trip will be his minimum but I am expecting a good run."
Also doubly represented is South African trainer Mike de Kock with Christophe Soumillon riding Musir, suggesting he is slightly more fancied than Master Of Hounds, the mount of Kevin Shea.
Soumillon's mount won the UAE Derby in 2010 (Mendip was third) and was last seen when winning a valuable turf prize in Turkey, whereas Shea's horse was second in the 2011 UAE Derby when trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien and is having his first start for his new yard.
De Kock said: "Both are going well at home and pleasing us but I expect they will both improve a lot for the run. I think Musir is better on turf and this could be his only [all-weather] run this year, while Master Of Hounds is going to better over further I think. They are both ready for a run but it seems a strong race this year."
Last season’s UAE champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddles Derbaas who has the advantage of a run after a good third on turf last week. His jockey Richard Hills said: "That was a good run last week and should have put him spot on for this. He is very good on both surfaces and we have a nice draw."
The Marco Botti-trained Fanunalter may prove best of two United Kingdom challengers, although Ed Vaughan's Dance And Dance is a very capable performer also.
Classic clues should be offered in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Sponsored By Etisalat over 1400m on the all-weather track where de Kock is double-handed. Shea rides Enjoy Dubai who has to give weight to his 13 rivals having won in Group Three company in his native Argentina, with Soumillon on Mickdaam.
The trainer sounds hopeful, as opposed to confident, and said: "Enjoy Dubai may find the trip on the long side, whereas Mickdaam will need further I think but we need to get them on the track."
Bin Suroor's Rassam, the mount of Dettori and Al Zarooni's Kinglet, to be ridden by Mickael Barzalona, give Godolphin a another strong hand.
UK trainer Brian Meehan also saddles two, Right To Dream under Martin Dwyer and Mehdi, the mount of William Buick. Ireland is represented by Strait of Zanzibar and Bible Black, to be ridden by Shane Foley and Ryan Moore respectively.
Former UAE Champion jockey Ted Durcan rides Dark Matter, who has good form in Singapore.
No Risk Al Maury winner of the Purebred Arabian version in each of the past two season has retired from racing and his absence lends a very open look to the 2012 edition. Fryvolous was second 12 months ago and his new trainer Ernst Oertel currently has his team in great form.
No Risk Al Maury's former trainer Gill Duffield relies on AF Alghabra who beat the Doug Watson- trained Kandar Du Falgas, owned, as was No Risk Al Maury, by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum at their most recent clash.
Read more articles in the Meydan category.