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Wednesday, March 03, 2010


International super Thursday of stars


Derrinstown Stud, the Irish arm of the breeding operation of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum sponsors the Super Thursday meeting, the seven race card designed as the ideal preparation for Dubai World Cup night on Saturday 27th March.

The night's features are the concluding rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge, both over 2000m but to be run on the all weather track for the first time. The Group 1 Purebred Arabian version opens the card and there has to be every chance the sponsor will maintain his 100% strike rate in Purebred Arabian races at Meydan.


He owns five of the 14 runners and his main jockey, Richard Hills, elects to ride No Risk Al Maury on whom he rode the first ever Meydan winner in the opening round. That was over 1600m but the horse, trained by Gill Duffield, stays and the jockey expects a big run: "He is a quality Purebred Arabian and fairly versatile. He has to have a big chance."

The same owner's Santhal, who chased Hills' mount home on that occasion, and Kandar Du Falgas appear the main dangers.

That is the prep race for the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the traditional curtain raiser on Dubai World Cup night, while the Group 2 Thoroughbred Al Maktoum Challenge Round III is also over 2000m on Tapeta, the same course and distance as the $10million Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race.

This is the race chosen by Godolphin for the mighty Dubai Millennium as his prep race in 2000, one of three occasions Saeed bin Suroor has won both races with the same horse and he has two live chances this year; Frankie Dettori rides UAE debutant Cavalryman, having his first start for Bin Suroor and first un off turf, while Ahmed Ajtebi retains his partnership with Allybar, who won the second round.

That was the pair's second 2010 Dubai International Racing Carnival win, while Cavalryman was a Group 1 winner in France and was an excellent third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Bin Suroor said: "He (Cavalryman) is a very nice horse and one we like a lot. He is training well and should handle the surface, in which case he will run a big race.
"Allybar keeps improving and we know conditions suit him and he also won over this trip in France."

Also seeking third Carnival wins are the Mike De Kock duo Mr Brock and Lizard's Desire; like Allybar, both course and distance winners. Both are stepping up in class but the trainer explains: "They deserve this step up and have both done very well since arriving in Dubai. They clearly like this surface and we will find out just how far they have progressed."

Gloria De Campeao won the opening round and was runner-up in last year's Dubai World Cup. He has to go well, while Japan Cup first and third, Vodka and Red Desire are interesting challengers.

Sadly De Kock's UAE 2000 Guineas Musir is a late defection from the Al Bastakiya so Godolphin's Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Vale of York could be hard to beat.

The two turf races are quality affairs and the concluding Group 2 Jebel Hatta, over 1800m, has attracted a quality field headed by Group1 winner Presvis who was runner-up in last year's Dubai Duty Free.

Back on grass and with Ryan Moore in the saddle, he looks certain to run a big race. Godolphin's Alexandros was just behind him in that Dubai Duty Free and renews rivalry, while local hope Ibn Battuta should not be underestimated.

The 2485m Dubai City of Gold sees Presvis' stable companion Purple Moon return to action having not run since his close third in last year's Dubai Sheema Classic. Sir Michael Stoute's Perfect Stride and Germany's 2007 winner Quijano look big dangers though.




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