Godolphin Unleashes Big Hitters on Saturday Dubai World Cup Carnival Card

Meydan Racecourse is set to host a sterling renewal of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Saturday with Group 3 contests, the UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by District One Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City and the Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Meydan One Mall highlighting the card.

All eyes will be on Godolphin’s Confrontation, trying to win the Firebreak Stakes for the second consecutive year. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin when victorious 12 months ago, he was then sixth in his only subsequent outing, the 1200m Group 1 Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup Day 2016.

He is now in the care of Saeed bin Suroor, who has saddled the winner of the Firebreak Stakes, first run in 2009, on three occasions, including dual winner, Skysurfers, who landed the prize in both 2010 and 2011.

“Obviously he won this race last year so conditions suit him,” said Bin Suroor. “This has been his first target all year and he has been working well. That said, I do think he will improve for this first run since March.”

If he is to become the second dual winner of the race, Bin Suroor’s charge must overcome seven opponents, including Lindo Amor, trained by Mike de Kock in one of the few feature races to have alluded the South African at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

An excellent third on his local debut, over this same course and distance in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on the first night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, he was then disappointing when only seventh in last week’s second round of the challenge over 1900m, a trip which looked likely to suit.

“We are delighted he has drawn the one stall this week,” said De Kock. “He seems to prefer racing by a rail and we have seen that in his work as well.
“Hopefully he can run a big race but it does looks a strong field.”

The Doug Watson-trained Desert Force steps up to 1600m for the first time after two emphatic 1400m victories, before disappointing dropped back to 1200m.
“The draw in nine is probably not ideal,” said Watson. “But he is in great form and should stay the trip well so we are hoping for a big run.”

Satish Seemar saddles two of the nine runners with Richard Mullen choosing to ride the ultra-progressive North America over the seasonal debutant Surfer, winner of Al Maktoum Challenge R1 in 2015 but not seen in action since fifth in that same race in 2016.

“Both are in good form and should run well,” said assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar. “Obviously Surfer has been off a while but he normally runs well fresh, while North America has done nothing wrong and deserves this step up in grade.”

Bin Suroor will be seeking a sixth win in the UAE 2000 Guineas and unleashes Thunder Snow, a Group 1 winner in Europe, onto the local scene in this year’s renewal.
The mount of Christophe Soumillon, he obviously brings a touch of proven class to proceedings and is one of four Godolphin-owned runners in the race.

“He worked very well on Monday and has pleased us since arriving in Dubai,” said Bin Suroor. “He obviously has to prove himself on dirt and will improve for the run but should go well.”

Trained by Charlie Appleby, Godolphin’s Fly At Dawn won the 1400m UAE 2000 Guineas Trial so is proven on the surface and will, again, be ridden by William Buick.
“We were very pleased with his win in the trial,” said Appleby. “The extra 200m should be in his favour and, hopefully, he is going to go very close.”

Second in that trial was the Watson-trained Cosmo Charlie who, having just his second career start after a 1400m maiden victory, tried to make all under Pat Dobbs who is, again, in the saddle.

“We were delighted with that run in the trial,” said Watson. “The extra 200m should suit him and the extra experience he gained then can only be in his favour.
“It is a strong renewal but we could not be happier with him.”