Dubai Derbey World cup: Expectations high as bin Suroor unleashes strong team


Dubai – British star Lord Glitters defends featured Singspiel Stakes at Meydan Racecourse on Friday

Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor is hoping to see his 13-strong team deliver some special performances when they line up to contest Friday’s fifth Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting, arguably the strongest card thus far of the elite three-month long extravaganza.

The Emirati policeman-turned racehorse trainer is the most successful in the history of the festival that encompasses eight race days high on quality and which culminate in the $30.5million Dubai World Cup meeting on March 26.

Bin Suroor sets the gold standard having won a record eight Carnival Championships and says he is looking forward to testing several contenders on Friday, where the flagship Meydan Racecourse hosts a glittering seven-race card that features four Group races.

The official feature is the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes (Presented by Race of UAE Innovates), over 1800metres on turf, which is a traditional prep for the $6million Dubai Turf, one of the key supporting events on the World Cup card.

Bin Suroor has won the race on no less than four occasions and relies on Bedouin’s Story, the mount of Frankie Dettori, and Passion and Glory (Pat Cosgrave) as he bids to extend his dominance in the contest, albeit it being a tough ask given the depth of quality in the race.

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“They’re both in good form and working well, but this looks a very strong renewal of the Singspiel,” bin Suroor told Khaleej Times. “Bedouin’s Story came out of his last race, the A; Rashidiya, well and should improve for that run.

“Frankie (Dettori) gets on well with the horse who will be suited by the drop. in trip. We expect him to run well.

“Passion And Glory needs his last race where he appeared too tired after leading for a long way. We hope that the drop in trip will make the difference on Friday.”

The biggest threat to the bin Suroor pair comes from the Charlie Appleby-trained Zakouski, who has won three of his four Meydan starts including the 2021 Al Rashidiya.

His lone defeat came against the majestic and reopposing Grey Lord Glitters, in last year’s Singspiel winner.

O’Meara’s star must see off the Charlie Appleby saddles Zakouski, who boasts an impressive track record, having won three of his four starts here. Zakouski’s only local defeat came at the hands of Lord Glitters in last year’s Singspiel.

The reigning UK Champion Trainer summed up Zakouski’s chances saying: “He is dropping back to nine furlongs after running over a mile and a quarter in Bahrain, which should suit him better. He is a solid performer around Meydan and should be very competitive if he performs to his best.”

Appleby also sends out Art Du Val and Royal Fleet and commented:” Both come out of the Al Rashidiya in good order and a repeat of those efforts should see them in the mix again.”

Lord Glitters bids to make history

The 12-strong field also sees the Irish-trained and evergreen globetrotter, Lord Glitters, attempt to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals. Of the Singspiel.

“We’re happy with his training and we thought he ran well enough the other night in his first run at Meydan this season,” said the UK-based handler David O’Meara. “He had a little break after the Bahrain [G3 International Trophy, November 19th] and might have needed his first run back.”

Other notable contenders include Queen Anne Stakes third, Sir Busker, who makes his UAE debut for Newmarket based handler William Knight, who tasted Carnival success back in 2007 when Illustrious Blue won at Nad Al Sheba.

Friday’s stacked card features a pair of Group 3 contests headed by the UAE 2000 Guineas, which has attracted the first three home in the Guineas Trial — Rawy, Quality Boone, and Kiefer.

Rawy is trained by Emirati handler Salem bin Ghadayer, who is hoping for a big run from the handsome son of Frosted: “He ran well in the Guineas Trial and came back from the race well; very sound.

“It’s pretty much a similar field in the Guineas and the two extra furlongs will not be an issue for the horse. He’s in good form and has handled his preparation very well. I believe that he is going to run a big race on Friday.”

The main opposition is expected to come from the Brazilian-bred and Uruguay-based Kiefer and Meydan scorer Azure Coast.

Kiefer caught the eye when finishing a closing third in the trial on his UAE debut three weeks ago.

All eyes on the speedballs

The second Group 3 contest is the 1,200 metre Al Shindagha Sprint [Presented by Sustainability Race], in which Doug Watson’s exciting sprinter Al Tariq will defend his title.

The UAE champion trainer also saddles Canvassed, winner of the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal over course and distance last March, will be ridden by Andrea Atzeni, who said: “he was a bit rusty last time and just got very tired. Doug Watson and the team have done a great job with him and Sam Hitchcott breezed him the other day and he did a nice piece of work, so hopefully, he will have come on for that run.”

The Listed Curlin Stakes [Presented by Race of Ambition], is another highly anticipated contest as it is run over the same 2000metres as the Group 1 $12 million Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup.

Bahraini-owned Salute The Soldier makes his second start of the year for astute handler Fawzi Nass, having displayed his talent when taking out the Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round 3 last season and who was fifth in Round 1 last month.

“He’s in good shape. He’s had his first run now, over a mile, because we thought he would be gassy and fresh and needing the run,” said Nass. “Hopefully that race has brought him on and he’s ready to rock and roll this week in the Curlin Stakes.”

The formidable line-up includes the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Dubai Icon, a thumping eight-and-a-half-length winner last time out where he scalped Group 2 UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance,

New races

The card also stages a a new race, the Listed Business Bay Challenge [Presented by Race of Possibilities] over 1400metres on turf. Which herald’s the return of three-time course winner D’Bai, who won the Group 2 Zabeel Mile here last season.

The evening’s action gets underway with the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah, for Purebred Arabians, in which RB Money To Burn defends her title with recent nine-length winner Namrood, looking a major threat.

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