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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Pimpernel for Oaks glory


The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, one of Meydan’s pillar partners, sponsor Thursday evening's Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting where the three-year-old classic generation take centre stage with both the UAE Oaks and Meydan Classic on the six-race card.

The official feature is the Group 3 UAE Oaks, restricted to three-year-old fillies over 1900m on the all-weather track, for which six have been declared. Godolphin's Mahmoud Al Zarooni –trained Pimpernel looks certain to be Pick 6 favourite on her second local start having chased home stable companion Gamilati in the UAE 1000 Guineas.


Previously a Listed winner in the UK, she was well beaten by Gamilati in the first fillies' classic but did have four of Thursday's five rivals behind her on that occasion.

UAE debutante Falls Of Lora is the only one of the sextet who did not run in the UAE 1000 Guineas. She is also trained by Al Zarooni who said: "We have decided to save Gamilati for England and their 1000 Guineas so Pimpernel will be ridden by Frankie Dettori and she really pleased us when chasing home Gamilati. It showed she handled the [all-weather] and she would have been closer with a clear run. She has been working well as has Falls Of Lora who was a nice filly in England as well but will probably need the run and has yet to prove herself on the surface."

The Meydan Classic, a 1600m Listed contest on turf, looks a lot more competitive with 12 declared including Factory Time, winner of the 1400m trial. The colt, prepared by last season’s champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe, was chased home on that occasion by Kenny Powers and Fiscal who are both seeking their first career wins.

The trio face stiff opposition though from Singapore's Cash Luck, Spain's Matusalen and Entifaadha who is trained in the UK by William Haggas and owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Richard Hills who, it was announced this week, will retire at the end of the 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival takes the ride.

The 1000m Al Naboodah Construction Group sprint on turf appears absolutely wide open with UK-based trainer Robert Cowell well represented with course and distance winners Monsieur Joe, who won a similar race three weeks ago and Prohibit, a winner at Meydan last year before subsequently winning the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. This will be his first start since October and he has to concede weight to all his rivals.

Al Raihe also appears to have a strong hand with both Green Beret and Happy Dubai among the 13 declarations. The latter, who twice beat Monsieur Joe over course and distance last year but was behind him three weeks ago, bounced back to winning ways in a 1200m all-weather handicap last week. He will again be ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, recently announced as Godolphin's second jockey.

Stable jockey Royston Ffrench partners Green Beret in a race Irish-trained pair Invincible Ash and Nocturnal Affair are just two others to consider.




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