Five-year-old Very Special is seeking to follow up her mile Cape Verdi victory with success in the nine-furlong Balanchine [19.05 GST] for a second time, having completed the G2 double in 2016 with a pair of impressive victories.
Promising Run also scored by a half-length at the January 26 meeting, when bravely taking the nine-furlong G2 Al Rashidiya Stakes. The four-year-old now takes on male opposition again in the G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes [22.00 GST] over a mile and a quarter.
The Hard Spun filly, ridden by Oisin Murphy for the first time, faces nine others headed by last year’s G1 Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Zarak and German G1 winner Elliptique. Promising Run is drawn on the outside in stall 10.
Saeed bin Suroor, who trains both horses, said: “Very Special won really well in the Cape Verdi and came out that race in good order. She looks stronger compared to last year and her condition is much better.
“She did a very nice piece of work over the weekend and is ready to go again. I am hoping to see her win again.
“Promising Run won nicely in the Al Rashidiya and she also looks a stronger filly this year. This trip will suit her and she has been working well recently.”
FLASH FIRE & CYMRIC OUT TO MAKE ZABEEL MILE MARK
Flash Fire and Cymric, who have both been successful in handicaps at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, take a step back up in class for trainer Charlie Appleby in the G2 Zabeel Mile [20.50 GST] on turf at Meydan on Thursday, February 16.
Flash Fire [William Buick, drawn one], stormed to a decisive win over seven furlongs on his seasonal return on January 5 and has subsequently twice finished second over the same course and distance, in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort on January 19 and when going down by a nose in a handicap on February 9.
Four-year-old Cymric [Mickael Barzalona, drawn seven], a close second at G1 level as a juvenile, made an exciting debut for his new trainer on February 2 when running on to score by a half-length in a mile handicap.
Charlie Appleby said: “Flash Fire produced a career best in the Al Fahidi Fort and backed that run up with another good performance in handicap company on his latest start, when he was narrowly beaten.
“He has been taking his racing well in Dubai and I think he will be fine on the easy mile at Meydan. He goes into the race in good health and doesn’t look out of place in this field.
“I was very pleased Cymric’s first start for our stable and he looks to have come out of that race in good order. He was placed in a G1 as a juvenile and he is going to be a contender if he can return to that level of form.”
The four-year-old Shamardal colt was among the UK’s most exciting juveniles in 2015 following a scintillating win in Doncaster’s G2 Champagne Stakes, but was found to have chipped a bone in his knee after trailing home last in the G1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket the following month.
Emotionless, who is trained by Charlie Appleby, was restricted to two appearances over a mile last year, finishing fifth in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and coming home seventh in a G3 race at Goodwood in July.
He faces nine rivals on his seasonal return including the 2016 winner Le Bernardin, G2 UAE Derby second Polar River and Cool Cowboy, who was third in last year’s G2 Godolphin Mile. William Buick partners Emotionless, who is drawn in stall 10, for the fifth time.
Charlie Appleby commented: “Emotionless has done nothing but please us since his arrival in Dubai two months ago and has been acting well on the dirt surface at home.
“He was disappointing during his three-year-old season after meeting with some setbacks but looks to be in good shape at the moment.
Places on this prestigious programme were offered to eight young Emirati men and women aged between 23 and 30, who demonstrated a passion for horseracing, and who have the ambition and commitment to develop both personally and professionally.
The course will run over 10 months, in Dubai, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and include a mix of both academic and practical modules, offering participants a unique opportunity to embrace their equestrian heritage with the aim of becoming the business leaders of the future.
John Ferguson, Chief Executive and Racing Manager for Godolphin, said: “Masar Godolphin represents yet another demonstration of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s enduring passion for horse breeding and racing, and his continued commitment to the creation of a sustainable future for both the industry and the individuals involved in it. Masar Godolphin participants will be privileged to experience many aspects of horse racing and breeding in both Europe and the UAE, preparing them incredibly well for a future in this most exciting and demanding business.”
Hugh Anderson, Managing Director for Godolphin in the UK and Dubai, said: “The love of horses is part of the DNA of Dubai and this was reflected in the large number outstanding applications we received from UAE nationals who wanted to immerse themselves in the world of thoroughbred horse breeding and racing. Competition for places was tough and we faced a difficult but welcome challenge in trying to select the eight members of the inaugural class. I believe that those who have been selected will be excellent flag bearers for Masar Godolphin and we look forward to working with them over the next ten months.”
The participants of the Masar Godolphin class of 2017 are: Abdulaziz Al Suwaidi, Amna Banihashem, Ayesha Al Fugaee, Hasna Ali, Hussain Al Marzouqi, Ibrahim Aqil, Muna Al Mazrouei and Sultan Al Amera.