The second meeting of the 2021 Dubai World Cup Carnival (DWCC) at Meydan on Thursday evening is a fascinating six race card sponsored by Pillar Partners Longines and highlighted by the Group 2 Cape Verdi, as well as the first Classic of the season, the UAE 1000 Guineas, not to mention the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 for the Purebred Arabians.
Group 2 $163,000 Cape Verdi (fillies & mares 1600m T)
For fillies and mares, Godolphin have dominated the Group 2 Cape Verdi in recent times, winning it in all bar two renewals since 2011.
Charlie Appleby has saddled the winner three times, including in each of the last two years, combining with James Doyle, also successful thrice in the race, in each of the last two years. They are represented by Althiqa. A 4-year-old filly, like her sire Dark Angel a steely grey, her three career victories are highlighted by the most recent, a 1400m Listed race at Deauville last July.
Appleby’s stable jockey William Buick, yet to win this race, has opted to partner the handler’s second runner, Summer Romance. Also a 4-year-old seeking a fourth career victory, the daughter of Kingman most recently tasted success on her penultimate start, the 1700m Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom.
Appleby said: “They are two nice fillies. Althiqa was very consistent in Europe last year, winning a Listed race and placing in a Group Three. She looks ideal for this test.
“Summer Romance has wintered really well and has thrived in the sunshine. Her last start in a Group One just did not go to plan, but she showed at Epsom that she is a very useful filly.”
Fellow Godolphin handler, Saeed bin Suroor, has the best record of all in the contest, saddling the heroine in half of the ten most recent renewals.
He has three chances this year, responsible for 33% of the nine declared runners and seemingly headed by Stunning Beauty, the mount of Frankie Dettori who partnered the trainer’s first winner of the race, Aspectoflove, in 2011. A 4yo filly, the homebred daughter of Shamardal arrives unbeaten having won both her starts in the summer, a 1600m Newmarket maiden on debut in July and a novice stakes at Leicester over the same trip.
She is joined in the field by stable companions Dubai Love and Last Look, herself also unbeaten having won all three outings in 2019 but not seen in public since August of that year. They will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave and Harry Bentley respectively.
“Stunning Beauty is a very talented, but somewhat quirky filly,” Bin Suroor said. “She looks the ideal type for the Cape Verdi and is unbeaten as is Last Look who has been given plenty of time as she is a bit fragile.
“Dubai Love is just a tough, genuine and versatile filly who landed the UAE 1000 Guineas on dirt last year.”
The field is completed by a quartet of international runners with Stylistique and Perfect Inch from Britain joined by Quiet Times for France and Sweden’s Silent Night.
Silent Night’s Trainer Patrick Wahl believes she has a good chance and said: “She has done very well over the summer back home. Of course it was an advantage for her to be here over the winter to prepare her. She won three races in a row, and won both Guineas in Norway and Sweden.
“Hopefully she will run well in the Cape Verdi, and then we might run her in the Balanchine. It all depends on how she runs. If not, we will have to look at some other ways, but that is the plan.
Listed $125,000 UAE 1000 Guineas (3yo fillies 1600m D)
The main Thoroughbred support race, the first Classic of the season, the 1600m Listed UAE 1000 Guineas presented by Longines, is a 3-year-old fillies’ race in which Saeed bin Suroor has a phenomenal record and is seeking a 12th success since landing the inaugural event with Muwakleh in 2001.
The master of nearby Al Quoz Stables relies on Soft Whisper, winner of the 1400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial three weeks ago. Frankie Dettori, seeking a fifth win in the race and fourth for Bin Suroor, takes the mount, replacing Pat Cosgrave who was aboard in the trial.
Bin Suroor said: “Soft Whisper won twice in Britain last year and did well to win the trial after a slow start. The extra 200m should suit and we are expecting a big run.”
Doug Watson saddled Super Chianti and Mnasek, both winners on their only start to date. The latter did remarkably well to win her 1400m maiden five weeks ago having totally missed the break under Dane O’Neill who again rides. Pat Dobbs again partners stablemate Super Chianti, the pair victorious in a 1200m maiden ten weeks ago.
Watson said: “Both are in flying form at home and we are really looking forward to trying them in this better class of race having just won a maiden apiece.”
Nicholas Bachalard saddles Nayefah, runner-up to both Watson fillies in her two outings to date. The mount of Ryan Curatolo will attempt to gain revenge and Bachalard said: “We deliberately missed the trial to give her more time between races. “She has done herself no favours with slow starts both times, so hopefully she can break on terms this time.”
PA Group 1 $49,000 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (1900m D)
The curtain raiser and only Purebred Arabian contest, the 1900m dirt Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 presented by Longines, has attracted a quality field of nine.
Brraq was a first Group One and local winner for trainer Jean-Claude Pecout when landing the 1600m first round and is one third of a strong challenge for owners Yas Racing, joined by stable companion Aoun and Bandar.
The last named, to be saddled by Majed Al Jahoori, was second in this last year, to the same owner’s Ziyadd, before winning the 2000m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3, beating the Doug Watson-trained RB Texas Hold Em, again in opposition.
Watson’s charge was sixth on his latest start in December’s 1900m Group 2 The Madjani Stakes, won by RB FrynchhDude for Helal Alalawi with Aoun in third.
Splitting them was Amwaj, second then and third in this race 12 months ago for Eric Lemartinel.
Elsewhere on the card, the 3-year-olds put their UAE Derby claims on the line in the Al Bastakiya Trial, 15 of them taking their chance over 1900m on the dirt. These include El Patriota, a dual Listed race winner in his native Uruguay.
The other two races are both Listed Handicaps on turf, a capacity field of 16 declared for the finale over 1600m, 15 taking their chances in the 2000m race.