Godolphin May Have a Dirt Champion
Emotionless, a brilliant two-year-old for Godolphin before disappointing at three, reappears following a 160-day absence in Thursday’s G2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 at Meydan, and hopes are high that he can make a name for himself on dirt.
This G2 Champagne Stakes-winning colt underwent an operation for the removal of a bone chip from his leg after being soundly beaten in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket at the end of the 2015 season, but despite a long lay-off, he later proved frustrating.
He failed to make the line-up for the G1 Two Thousand Guineas, finished fifth of seven runners in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes, and was then soundly beaten at Goodwood.
“When you consider what he showed as a juvenile, he was disappointing at three,” Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby admitted. “But, as an individual, he has done well since. Physically and mentally, I can say he has gone the right way.
“I think it is interesting that he has a predominantly dirt pedigree, so we are hopeful he will be suited on his first start on dirt.
“He is a half-brother to Etched and Out Of Bounds, both graded performers on dirt. With that in mind, I am optimistic he can acquit himself well in the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, over the mile,” he added.
The son of Shamardal has drawn the outside gate – No 10 of 10 runners – and will have the two Doug Watson-trained runners, Polar River, runner-up in the UAE Derby, and Cool Cowboy as his two chief rivals.
But another interesting runner is Munaaser, winner of a handicap on dirt at Meydan last season before a solid fourth to American star Frosted in Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. He is still on the improve.
Appleby has shipped out a team of 16 horses for the Dubai World Cup Carnival and is based at Marmoom, 25 kilometres from Downtown Dubai.