Quality Domestic Racing Returns To Meydan

Godolphin Well Represented at First Saturday Meet

After the excitement of the second meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday, the domestic season returns to Meydan on Saturday.

With international and Godolphin representation this is a quality card in its own right.

Kindly sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, at least two of the six races have attracted runners likely to grace the Dubai World Cup Carnival itself at some stage this year and a further two offering a good opportunity for an easy winner to qualify for the Carnival.

The turf is to be used for the first time domestically this season and arguably the most interesting race is the fourth, a 1200m handicap on the grass in which the weights are headed by Ahtoug.

Ahtoug is trained by Godolphin handler, Mahmoud Al Zarooni who was in treble form on Thursday and the Mike De Kock-trained Royal Ridge.

Kieren Fallon takes the ride and the runner was in good form when last seen in the UK in August.

“He won at Chester in May, having totally missed the break,” said Al Zarooni. “That was a big win from a poor position and his last run was a good third at the Shergar Cup. We had a great night on Thursday and the horses are running well.”

Of Royal Ridge, the mount of Paul Hanagan for his main employer HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, De Kock said: “We think he is a proper horse for Dubai and the Carnival so this provides an opportunity to get him on the track as we have not been able to get a run on the all-weather yet. He is in good form but will need every yard of this trip.”

Godolphin`s other trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, was out of luck on Thursday having enjoyed a double the previous week and he relies on Mysticism, a recent recruit from America, and Les Troyens.

UK raider Santefiso represents Keith Dalgleish whose first UAE runner Stonefield Flyer ran well for a long way before tiring over course and distance on Thursday. Like Royal Ridge, he is another connections will be hoping runs well to increase their chances of a run in more valuable races.

Those trainers based permanently in the UAE have more than held their own at the Carnival thus far and are well represented in this race with the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Hajoum, Satish Seemar`s Kaiss and Firestreak all holding strong claims in an open contest.

Racing concludes with a 2000m turf handicap and again plenty will be hoping to advertise their claims for the Carnival , including three Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin runners of whom Flag Officer looks first string under Silvestre De Sousa. Bin Suroor also saddles Club Oceanic in the colours of HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and a big effort from any of the quartet will undoubtedly boost their Carnival aspirations.

Doug Watson, whose Barbecue Eddie won the Maktoum Challenge Round I on the opening night, is also triple handed and it could be he poses the main threat to the Bin Suroor runners. Watson`s Mantoba was a winner at Abu Dhabi on his most recent start when stable companions Dr Faustus and Jawhar were fourth and fifth respectively.

Watson explained: “They are similar types so will probably keep clashing. That was Mantoba`s first turf run for us and he delivered what he had been showing in the mornings. He seemed to have a bit in hand.

“The other two both ran well and did not really enjoy the run of the race. I hope all three can be competitive in an open race.”