News

Group 2 Al Rashidiya and Cape Verdi Highlight Quality Dubai World Cup Carnival Card

Mushreq training
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (erikarphotography.com)

Tasaday, Mushreq, Certify and Flotilla All In Action

The Dubai World Cup Carnival hots up for tonight’s (Thursday’s) DUBAL-sponsored fourth meeting of the international season, with a card which boasts two classy Group 2 turf contests, the 1800m Al Rashidiya and the 1600m Cape Verdi, both worth US$200,000.

Last season the winners of these races, Godolphin’s Sajjhaa (Cape Verdi) and the Mike de Kock-trained The Apache (Al Rashidiya) went on to finish first and second respectively in the Group 1 $5m Dubai Duty Free on Dubai World Cup day.

Indeed, last year’s version of tonight’s card saw all the other winners proceed to gain starting places in Dubai World Cup day races, including Mushreq (Duty Free), Medicean Man (Al Quoz Sprint) and Rerouted (Godolphin Mile).

This season’s renewal sees 12 declared for the 1800m Al Rashidiya, a race South African De Kock is seeking to win for a third consecutive year and sixth time in total.

His 2004 winner of this race, Right Approach, went on to dead-heat in the Dubai Duty Free that year, while the Luca Cumani-trained Presvis also won both races in 2011.

De Kock saddles two this year, the previously-mentioned Mushreq and Mujaarib, both owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose second retained jockey, Dane O’Neill (in the absence of first jockey Paul Hanagan who is suspended) unsurprisingly chooses to ride Mushreq.

In addition to the 2000m turf handicap that he landed on this card last year, De Kock’s charge progressed to win the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort (1600m, turf) and made a winning return this season on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the Listed Singspiel Stakes.

De Kock said: “He ran well in the Dubai Duty Free last year to be beaten less than seven lengths in a red-hot race after a busy Meydan campaign. He ran six times last season but will be campaigned more sparingly this time.

“A good run here, Super Saturday and World Cup night in the Duty Free would probably be the ideal.”

Stable companion, Mujaarib will reportedly need the run and it could well be the Godolphin trainers who supply the biggest dangers.

No filly or mare has ever won the Al Rashidiya but Godolphin’s Tasaday, having her first start for Saeed bin Suroor, looks a big danger to all, having campaigned with distinction at Group 1 level in France.

Never out of the first four in a quartet of outings at the highest level, she won both her races outside of Group 1 company last year and Bin Suroor, who has won this race four times, said: “She is a lovely new filly in the yard and she has been pleasing us at home. She will improve for this run but we expect a big effort.”

Fellow Godolphin handler, Charlie Appleby has made a bright start to his first Dubai World Cup Carnival and saddles both Steeler and Maputo.

“Steeler really pleased us with his comeback run three weeks ago after his long break,” said Appleby. “He has improved for that, while Maputo is having his first start for us.

“He was progressive last year and a great addition to the team who has been working well. It is a good race, as you would expect, but our two should go well.”

The Cape Verdi, a 1600m feature restricted to fillies and mares is definitely a case of quality over quantity with only six declared. Those include Godolphin’s unbeaten Group 1-winner, Certify and dual Meydan big-race heroine, Shuruq as well as formidable French challenger, Flotilla, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Fillies’ Turf in 2012 and last year’s French 1000 Guineas for trainer, Mikel Delzangles.

Flotilla, who picked up a bruised foot following her effort in the September 2013 Prix de Moulin has been away from the track for some time and is expected to improve for her first racecourse appearance for 136 days.

Meanwhile the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Shuruq has the benefit of a run under her belt, having galloped home the winner of the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge (1600m all-weather) three weeks ago. She has great UAE form, having also landed last year’s UAE Oaks (1900m all-weather) but will be seeking a first career win on turf.

Certify, will be saddled by Appleby who hopes she can keep her 100 per cent record intact.

Winner of all four starts as a juvenile, highlighted by victory in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile, Certify missed all last season but she has been pleasing Appleby.

“Obviously she has been off a long time and will improve for a run but her work has been good,” said Appleby. “ We always thought she was very good and hopefully she will prove us right this year.”