Anaerobio and Eastern Rules to Challenge Safety Check`s Impeccable 2015 Carnival Record

Safety Check seeks to defend his 2015 Al Fahidi Fort title
Photo: Dubai Racing Club//Andrew Watkins

Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort Highlights Meydan Sobha Meeting

The two previous winners of the Group 2 US$250,000 Al Fahidi Fort will face off in a fascinating renewal of the 1400m contest at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday evening.

The third meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, sponsored by Meydan Sobha features seven races for Thoroughbred horses, with four contests taking place on the Meydan turf track.
All eyes will be on the turf track for the running of the Al Fahidi Fort sponsored by Meydan Sobha which has attracted a field of nine.

Godolphin won the race 12 months ago, courtesy of Safety Check, who is back to defend his crown for Charlie Appleby. The winner of all three of his starts at last year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, including the Group 2 Zabeel Mile over 1600m, Safety Check had two runs in England over the summer.

He returns to Dubai having snagged an excellent third at Glorious Goodwood in the Lennox Stakes, before failing to fire at Doncaster when rain softened ground and, arguably, the straight track, did not suit him.

“We know he goes really well at Meydan where the style of racing really suits him,” said Appleby. “He ran really well in the Lennox at Goodwood but the ground went against him at Doncaster.

“Looking back at his record it really does appear he is at his best when he races around a turn, which was not the case at Doncaster. He is a typical son of Dubawi and getting stronger as he gets older. We would like to think he is the one to beat in a race he obviously won last year.”

Chasing him home last year was Eastern Rules, representing Ireland and Mick Halford. A course and distance winner in 2014, he was an excellent second in a handicap, also over this 1400m trip, on his seasonal debut two weeks ago.

Perhaps a bit unlucky, having not enjoyed the clearest of passages in the straight under James Doyle, who retains the ride, he looks capable of another big run.

“That was a good comeback run and he will have improved from it,” said Halford. “Obviously it is a strong race with Safety Check looking the one to beat but there are plenty of others to fear.”

In fourth 12 months ago was Anaerobio, one of four in this year’s renewal trained by Mike de Kock. The South African has a great record in the race, which was run over 1600m until 2014, and is seeking a seventh success in it.

Anaerobio was also his most recent winner having landed the spoils in 2014 and the eight year old has the advantage of a run under his belt this season.

He was a pleasing fourth on that comeback, just behind Eastern Rules and looks primed for another big run under Christophe Soumillon.

“We were very pleased with that return run,” said De Kock. “With a clear run he would probably have been second and he has been a great Carnival campaigner over a few years now, winning this race in 2014 being his obvious highlight.

“He is eight now but clearly in good heart and should run well.”

In a nine strong field the South African trainer also saddles Royal Ridge, Mastermind and Tellina.

“Royal Ridge has a bit to find according to the ratings,” he said. “He is back on turf after a good run on dirt.

“We are stepping Mastermind up in class and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.

“Tellina is making his Dubai debut and has settled in well. He will probably be better over further but has a touch of class and is a nice Carnival prospect.”

South African-trained horses have a phenomenal record in the race with nine wins since the contest was created in 2000. Harry’s Son also represents the South Africans and will be a first UAE runner for trainer, Paul Lafferty.

A Group 1 winner in his homeland, he should not be dismissed under Piere Strydom.

The local challenge consists of Ghaamer, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and winner of the course and distance handicap in which Eastern Rules was second and Anaerobio fourth. Doug Watson also saddles local debutant, Zarwaan.

Ghaamer and Zarwaan are half of a quartet in the race owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and retained jockey Paul Hanagan has elected to ride Zarwaan while Dane O’Neill partners Ghaamer.

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