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Bin Suroor Attempts Very Special Third Balanchine Stakes for Godolphin

Group 2 Cape Verdi winner, Very Special will attempt to double up in the Group 2 Balanchine at Thursday`s Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting.
Photo: Andrew Watkins

Thursday Carnival Meeting Features Four Group Races Including UAE Oaks & Nad Al Sheba Trophy

Godolphin trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor is on the hunt for a third Group 2 Balanchine Stakes at Meydan’s classy Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting on Thursday.

One half of an Emirates-sponsored double header which concludes with the Super Saturday meeting on March 5, Thursday’s meeting offers racegoers four Group contests on the seven-race card. The fillies and mares take centre stage in the Group 3 UAE Oaks and Balanchine, while the stayers contest the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy and the Purebred Arabians prep for the Dubai Kahayla Classic in the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Bin Suroor and Godolphin rely on Very Special in the official feature race, the Balanchine, held over 1800m of the turf and restricted to fillies and mares. The four year old holds strong credentials in the seven-strong field, having been the winner of the 1600m Group 2 Cape Verdi four weeks ago where she beat all but one of her Balanchine rivals.

“She won the Cape Verdi very well and we were delighted with her,” said Bin Suroor. “Her work since has been very good and she has really thrived in the Dubai weather.

“She has a penalty for the Cape Verdi victory which makes it a bit tougher but the extra 200 metres should suit her.”
James Doyle, returning from two weeks off following appendicitis surgery, is in the irons.

The runner that will prove an unknown quantity to Very Special is the Marco Botti-trained Euro Charline. Winner of the 2014 Beverly D Stakes (1900m) at Arlington Park in the USA, she did not record a win in four starts last year, although one of those efforts was a fourth to the excellent Solow in the Dubai Turf (1800m) last Dubai World Cup day. Euro Charline benefits from the services of jockey, Ryan Moore, who is riding in the UAE for the first time this season and has three rides on Thursday’s card.

The Dubai Turf is again her main UAE target so she may just need this run.
Doug Watson’s unbeaten UAE 1000 Guineas heroine, Polar River, seems to have scared the opposition away and faces just two rivals in the 1900m dirt Group 3 UAE Oaks.

“She is a special filly and very exciting to be associated with,” said Watson. “We think she will be better over this trip and has improved with each of her three starts to date.”

She is likely to take a crack at the colts in the UAE Derby (1900m) on Dubai World Cup day so she will need to win this under Pat Dobbs. Local debutante, Vale Dori, seems likely to give her most to think about.

Trained by Mike de Kock and a Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, Vale Dori is a daughter of one of De Kock’s former stable stars, the 2007 UAE Triple Crown winner, Asiatic Boy. The filly suffered a setback earlier in the year and is only just rejoining the Carnival fray. Christophe Soumillon takes the ride.
The stayers take their bow in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, over 2810m on turf and the maximum 14 are set to face the starter.

First run in 2010, Bin Suroor has saddled three of the six winners to date and his Famous Kid should not be far away.
"The course and distance really suit him and he ran very well last time,” said Bin Suroor. “He has improved for that outing and is working very well. It looks an open race but he should be competitive."

Famous Kid was third in a course and distance handicap four weeks ago, won by the Roger Varian-trained Battersea. He is again in opposition, as is the second, Paene Magnus, fourth, Rio Tigre and fifth, Star Empire.

The Purebred Arabian Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 is over the same 2000m dirt course and distance as the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the traditional curtain raiser on Dubai World Cup night.

A field of 11 are set to face the starter with Haajeb bidding to follow up his 2200 metres success in the middle round of the challenge four weeks ago.

Ridden by Wayne Smith, he is trained by Nacer Samiri for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as was Thakif who won the first round.

“He did it well in the second round,” said Smith. “The drop in trip by 200m should not inconvenience him as his other two wins were over 1600 metres.

“The trainer is having a great season and his horses are still going strong so we have to be hopeful.”



Enjoy Thursday`s AED150 Italian Night in the Parade Ring Restaurant with all you can eat pasta and pizza and two glasses of grape. Take advantage of AED25 drinks and live music in the Parade Ring Restaurant following the final race.

General admission to Meydan Racecourse is free and there are hospitality packages to suit every budget.
For more please visit www.dubairacingclub.com, call +971 4327 2110 or email: ticketoffice@dubairacingclub.com.

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