The fourth meeting of the 2021 Dubai World Cup Carnival (DWCC) at Meydan on Thursday evening, six races sponsored by Pillar Partners Emirates, is highlighted by the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1, Group 2 Al Rashidiya and, the only Purebred Arabian contest, the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah.
Group 2 $293,000 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (1900m D)
Ten have been declared for a fascinating renewal of the 1900m dirt Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 sponsored by Emirates Airline with much interest in British raider Dubai Warrior.
Homebred by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, the 5-year-old Dansili entire’s dam, Mahbooba, won the 2011 Listed UAE 1000 Guineas (albeit on the previous Tapeta surface) and 2012 Group 2 Balanchine. Trained by John Gosden, he will be making his dirt debut, seeking a seventh career success, having won six of ten starts to date. Raced just twice on turf, all six victories have been achieved on all-weather surfaces in England, highlighted by the 2020 Group 3 Winter Derby almost a year ago.
He has the assistance of Frankie Dettori, the most successful jockey in the history of a race inaugurated in 1994 with five previous victories.
Gosden said: “He has been pleasing in his work and works nicely enough on the dirt. Obviously a race is a different matter, so we will find out if he handles it Thursday.”
Gosden’s all-weather star is not the only international runner with Uruguayan Ajuste Fiscal hoping to add to his six career victories and build upon a promising local debut in the 1600m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1.
Trainer Antonio Cintra Pereira said: “We were very pleased with that first run and the longer trip will suit. We still hope he is a Dubai World Cup horse.”
Bahraini Fawzi Nass saddles Salute The Soldier, third in that Al Maktoum Challenge R1, pleasing regular pilot Adrie de Vries who said: “He has run well both times this season when in need of the run. It is the first time we have tried him over further than 1600m, but the trip should not be an issue.”
One place in front of De Vries’ mount in the opening round was Doug Watson’s Thegreatcollection, runner-up there having previously landed the course and distance Listed Dubai Creek Mile in January when Nass’ horse was fourth.
“We have been keen to step him up from 1600m, so this is the ideal opportunity,” Watson said: “Obviously it is a good race to stretch him out. I think it will suit him, but it is a strong race.”
Third in that Dubai Creek Mile before disappointing when only seventh in Al Maktoum Challenge R1 was Capezzano, one of three in this for Salem bin Ghadayer. His major career victory, to date, was when defeating Thunder Snow over 2000m in Super Saturday 2019’s Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3.
He is joined by stable companions Blown By Wind, a revelation when winning the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile on his second and most recent local outing, and Firnas, victorious in December’s Listed The Entisar over 2000m on the Meydan dirt.
Bin Ghadayer said: “Blown By Wind delighted us at Jebel Ali and has been working well since. Capezzano is also going nicely at home, we just need him to transfer that back to the course.
“Firnas too is in good shape. He is tough and consistent.”
Group 2 $163,000 Al Rashidiya (1800m T)
The main support race and best of the turf action, 1800m Group 2 Al Rashidiya sponsored by emirates.com, has been dominated by Godolphin in recent years, the royal blue silks carried to victory in each of the last four seasons.
That consecutive run of success includes Dream Castle in 2019, then runner-up to stablemate Benbatl last year, both saddled by Saeed bin Suroor.
Inaugurated in 2000, no horse has won this prize twice but Bin Suroor will be hoping to remedy that after his charge stayed on strongly to take second, over the same 1800m, in the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes, a race he also won in 2019 as well as Super Saturday’s Group 1 Jebel Hatta, also over this course and distance.
Bin Suroor said: “He ran very well last time and came out of the race in great form. The 1800m at Meydan is ideal for him and we expect another big run.”
For the same ownership, the Charlie Appleby-trained Zakouski was just behind Dream Castle in the Singspiel Stakes, pleasing his trainer who said: “We were obviously pleased with Zakouski’s first outing of the year in the Singspiel Stakes, when he produced a good effort. He has come on for that run and a slightly improved performance should put him bang there.”
Representing Britain and David O’Meara, Lord Glitters beat the Godolphin duo on that occasion and will bid to do so again, but under a penalty.
O’Meara said: “That was brilliant in the Singspiel; to travel an 8-year-old and win a big prize was just great. The penalty does not help, but he has remained in great form.”
Group 2 $36,000 Mazrat Al Ruwayah (PA 1600m D)
The sole Purebred Arabian race and curtain raiser, over 1600m on dirt, the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah looks a real conundrum for those playing Meydan’s online Pick Six competition.
One thing we do know is that there will be a new name on the trophy with RB Money to Burn, the mount of Tadhg O’Shea for Eric Lemartinel, likely among the main protagonists.
Their ten opponents include Watson’s local debutant RB Kinetic, a Grade Three winner in the US, but from Oman, Spaghetti could prove the main danger on his local debut. Seeking a ninth career victory, he is unbeaten on dirt after three runs, two in Doha where he used to be based, once in Muscat, his latest outing in November 2019.