Really Special Looks Set for UAE 1000 Guineas
The first classic of the season will be staged at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night when 11 fillies go to post for the UAE 1000 Guineas Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, a Listed race over 1600m and really special looks like the horse to beat.
First contested in 2001, the race has been a happy hunting ground for Godolphin and its trainers, especially Saeed bin Suroor who can boast nine victories and looks to hold strong claims of making it ten.
While the win for Really Special came under Christophe Soumillon, that jockey is unavailable on Thursday, and taking his place is Jim Crowley, who partnered her to both her wins in England last year.
“Really Special has won all three of her career starts and is a filly we really like,” said Bin Suroor. “The extra 200m will suit her as she won a 1600m Listed race at Newmarket in October and we think she has a massive chance.
“Voice Of Truth always tries her best but is a hard filly to predict because she shows little in her work at home.”
Seeking a first win in the race, fellow Godolphin handler, Charlie Appleby saddles Calare who was fifth in the trial.
“That experience of racing on dirt and stepping up to 1600m should help her,” said Appleby. “She won a Listed race over this trip in Ireland and has been training well so should be thereabouts.”
Also in the running is Complimenti who is trained by Doug Watson and was second to Really Special in the trial, which was an impressive performance considering it was just her second career start.
Third on debut, she appears progressive but, as she did in the trial, she has a poor draw to overcome and Pat Dobbs will be hoping for a quick start from the widest gate of all.
“The draw is obviously not ideal,” said Watson, who combined with Dobbs to win the race last year with Polar River.
“However, she is working very well and, hopefully, Pat will be able to get into a decent position early on.
“It is a good race but we are expecting a big run.”
Richard Fahey saddles two with Rajar, third in the trial and again the mount of Richard Mullen, joined by stable companion and local debutante, Melesina. A Group 3 winner in Deauville when last seen in October, she is to be partnered by Pat Smullen.
Representing Saudi Arabia, where she has won all three career starts, is the Nicholas Bachalard-trained Nasmiah. She is something of an unknown quantity in the field with Mickael Barzalona looking a positive jockey booking for a filly he won on almost three weeks ago.
South African, Mike de Kock, saddled Mahbooba to win this in 2011 and relies on Fursa, making her local and dirt debut under Soumillon who is retained by the filly’s owner, Sheikh Mohd bin Khalifa Al Maktoum.
A Group 2 winner in South Africa, she was also placed in Group 1 company and represents connections who always have to be respected
The meeting opens with the only Purebred Arabian contest, the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah Sponsored by Jaguar XE and also over 1600m.
Only seven have been declared, including the penalised AF Mathmoon, winner of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 over the same course and distance five weeks ago, as well as the 2016 Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup Day.
Sporting the famous blue and white silks of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, he does have a penalty but should still be too good for his six rivals under the owner’s retained jockey, Jim Crowley, who seemingly has a particularly strong hand in both feature races.