Al Shindagha Speedsters Out to Impress Ahead of Dubai World Cup Day

United Color (USA) & Russian Soul (IRE)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

UAE Colts Classic & Firebreak Stakes Attract Classy Fields at Sixth Carnival Meeting

A trio of Group 3 races highlight today’s (Thursday) US1.11m Al Tayer Motors-sponsored card at Meydan Racecourse, including the first Colt’s Classic of the season, the UAE 2000 Guineas, the Firebreak Stakes and the Al Shindagha Sprint.

The speedballs are out in force for the 1200m US$200,000 all-weather Al Shindagha Sprint, the fifth race of the night, which has attracted a maximum field of 14.

Among them is the 2012 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner, Krypton Factor, trained by Bahrain’s Fawzi Nass. Yet to win since that victory, Krypton Factor will once again be sporting his head gear after running last time without blinkers and benefits from having star Irish rider, Richard Hughes in the irons. His draw may count against him as he jumps from stall 14, the widest of all.

Krypton Factor, third to Reynaldothewizard, in the 2013 Dubai Golden Shaheen, renews his rivalry with Balmont Mast, who finished one place ahead of him in that race.

Balmont Mast, who is trained by Irishman, Edward Lynam, was a close fourth on his seasonal bow in the Listed Dubawi Stakes, over this course and distance.

William Buick, in the saddle on that occasion, rides again and the pair have been well drawn in stall four.

“These conditions really suit him and that was a good comeback. It looks a good renewal but at least we have a decent low draw,” said Buick.

Two places ahead of Balmont Mast and Buick in the Dubawi Stakes was fellow Irish challenger, Russian Soul, trained by Mick Halford and ridden by Shane Foley.

“That was a good return from him four weeks ago and all ours have been running well but improving for the run,” said the jockey, who must navigate his way around the one-turn sprint from stall 13. “We would have preferred a lower draw but hopefully, with a bit of luck, we will be there or thereabouts at the finish.”

That Dubawi Stakes was won by the Dhruba Selvaratnam-trained United Color, fifth in last year’s Golden Shaheen and again the mount of James Doyle, as he was a month ago.

Doyle said: “It was a good win last time when everything fell right for us. This looks a stronger race but we have a good draw so we can hopefully be competitive.”

The Australian sprinter, Mental stormed home to win the Al Shindagha Sprint for Godolphin last year, yet this is one of the few big races that Saeed Bin Suroor, the most successful trainer in the history of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, is yet to win.
On a night when the two Godolphin trainers are bringing out their new Australian recruits, Bin Suroor relies on Complicate, who was a five-and-a-half lengths eighth behind the Mike de Kock-trained Anaerobio on his local debut over 200m further.

“He ran well on his debut for us and will appreciate the return to 1200m. He has been showing plenty of speed and seems to like the all-weather,” said Bin Suroor.

Meanwhile Bin Suroor’s opposite number at Godolphin, Charlie Appleby saddles another antipodean horse in Bello, who is having his first UAE start and more will be known about him following the race.

“This is a bit of a fact finding mission in what looks a tough race,” said Appleby.

Jamesie, one of four in the race representing Ireland, was a course and distance winner a fortnight ago for David Marnane, a trainer who has now won twice at the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

“Jamesie has delighted us since that win and we have been very lucky with the draw in one. We expect a big run.”

UAE 2000 Guineas

The biggest money on the night belongs to the $250,000 Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas over 1600m of the all-weather. This is the second UAE Classic of the season and the first for the colts.

Bin Suroor is seeking a fifth win in this race and saddles two, including Emirates Flyer, winner of the 1400m trial four weeks ago. Five trial winners have followed up in this race in the last nine years and Bin Suroor also has local debutant, Paximedia, in the field.

A Group 2 winner when last seen in his native Australia, he looks an interesting newcomer to the Emirates.

“Paximedia has done everything we have asked of him,” said Bin Suroor. “His work has been very pleasing, he is steadily improving and I like him.

“Emirates Flyer won the trial well and this is the obvious next race for him. He has come out of that win in good order but will need to step up again in this stronger contest.”

Safety Check, saddled by fellow Godolphin handler, Appleby was second in the trial and should appreciate this extra 200m with new stable companion, Long John a fascinating new recruit from Australia.

Appleby said: “Safety Check ran very well in the trial and will definitely appreciate the longer trip. He won over 1600m at Newmarket and is well drawn so he has plenty in his favour.

“We will learn a lot about Long John who shows little at home but we were warned that would be the case as he was the same in Australia. He won the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas before contesting the Cox Plate so his form is excellent. Hopefully he can show a similar level of form.”

South African, Mike De Kock has won this race a record five times and has declared four as he seeks a sixth win. Christophe Soumillon rides the very interesting local debutant Wednaan, winner of his sole UK start at Yarmouth.

“He is a horse we have always really liked,” said De Kock. “He was a big baby when he won and his lack of experience is a definite concern. He was sick when he arrived here, so missed the trial but hopefully he will run well.”

Group 3 Firebreak Stakes

The third all-weather Group 3 feature is the 1600m Firebreak Stakes and nine have been declared. These include dual South African Horse Of The Year, Variety Club, a first UAE runner for Cape Town-based, Joey Ramsden.

De Kock saddles Mars, another having his first UAE start but a quality performer in Europe where he was sixth in both the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and Epsom Derby when trained by Aidan O’Brien, before an excellent third in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Appleby has two in the race in the shape of Snowboarder and Fulbright with the latter finishing second in this race last year.

“It looks a really strong renewal,” said Appleby who sounded hopeful rather than confident of his chances. “Both of ours go well on the all-weather which is an obvious plus and Fulbright won on the first night before a reasonable run back on turf.

“They are both working well but when you see the quality of opponent you would think our pair need to raise their game somewhat.”

Capital Attraction, second in last year’s Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday, is another to consider for UAE Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel under UAE Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea.