Udododontu Courts Carnival Aspirations at Meydan Saturday Meeting

The Ismael Mohammed-trained Murasil starts in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One Handicap over 1900m at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday

Credit: Dubai Racing Club//Andrew Watkins

Meydan’s Saturday card, sponsored by Meydan Sobha, could provide a stepping stone to the Dubai World Cup Carnival for a select group of runners, headed by dGodolphin’s only entrant, Udododontu.

All eyes will be on the former Richard Guest-trained four-year-old in the concluding 1600m handicap, one of two cracking turf contests on the card.

This will be Udododontu’s first start in the Godolphin blue with Harry Bentley partnering him for his new trainer, Saeed bin Suroor.

He won twice in the UK before producing a career best effort on his sixth and final start for Guest when a close second in the prestigious Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot.

He looks the type of horse Godolphin have a great record with and it will be disappointing if he cannot make a winning local debut.

“He is a nice horse and hopefully a good addition to the yard,” said Bentley. “He has been working well and, although he will improve for the outing, is certainly ready for a run.”

Should he fail to fire, there are several among his nine opponents who look likely to benefit from returning to turf having raced on dirt recently.

Perhaps heading the list is the Doug Watson-trained Marching Time, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the choice of Paul Hanagan who could also have ridden Watson’s second runner, Shebebi.

All four of Marching Time’s career wins have been registered on turf, though not since winning the prep for the National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi way back in November 2011.

“He has run some big races on dirt but he is better on turf,” said Watson. “This is an ideal opportunity to get him back on his favoured surface and he is working really nicely.

“Shebebi has been somewhat disappointing thus far, but is fit and well.”

Need To Know has only had three previous turf outings, twice finishing second in China and with his trainer, Ali Rashid Al Raihe enjoying a good run, he has to be respected under Tadhg O’Shea.

“We have been looking for a grass race for him and this looks ideal,” said the jockey. “It is a drop in class basically and we think he will go well.”

The other turf handicap is a 1200m dash, won last year by George Buckell aboard the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained, Kanaf.
The pair combine this year with Modern History on whom Buckell won a 1600m handicap at Al Ain on his most recent outing.

“He won well last time and is at least as good on turf,” said Buckell. “He has plenty of early speed so hopefully will be able to cope with the drop in trip and run a big race.”

Al Muhairi also saddles the Sheikh Hamdan pair of Ebn Arab and Taayel with Hanagan electing to ride the latter and Fernando Jara on the former.

Opposing is the Watson-trained Charlie Croker under Pat Dobbs and he should appreciate returning to turf after just one previous UAE run at Jebel Ali.

“He is a nice horse and we are very pleased with his work,” said Watson. “We think he has a decent chance in a competitive race.”

Al Raihe and O’Shea are represented by Days Of Conquest, well beaten last time when he was never able to get competitive after a slow start.

“You can ignore his last run,” said O’Shea. ‘He is much better than that and this looks a good chance for him to show his true colours.”

South African trainer, Mike de Kock adds further intrigue to the card, saddling two runners in the opening 1900m maiden with Baroot and Wayne Smith appearing to hold stronger credentials than Jununee under Dane O’Neill.

“Baroot ran well over 1400m last time,” said De Kock. “If he stays this far he will go close.

“Jununee has yet to show us much.”

Full racecards can be viewed at

Gates open at 2pm and the first race goes to post at 4pm.

Tickets are available from the Ticket Sales Office between Gates B and C.

General admission to Meydan Racecourse is free and there are hospitality packages to suit every budget.
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