Dubai Horse Racing: Super Saturday
The world’s richest day of racing, the Dubai World Cup is just three weeks away and Meydan Racecourse is all set to stage the official dress rehearsal – Super Saturday with a seven race card.
The official feature race on the night is the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 sponsored by Emirates Airline
Over the same 2000m dirt course and distance as the $10million Dubai World Cup, three former World Cup winners Dubai Millennium (2000), Street Cry (2002) and Electrocutionist (2006) built up to their famous wins by wrapping up the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 on Super Saturday in the same season. They all shared the same owner -trainer combination of Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor.
This Super Saturday the champion trainer saddles dirt debutant, Move Up, winner of his two most recent starts in Europe last year, the Group 2 International Bosphorus Cup in Turkey before denying a penalty in the Group 3 Cumberland Stakes at Ascot.
Clearly a progressive prospect, he looks to be a big danger if handling the new surface under Adrie de Vries.
“Obviously he has not run on dirt but he is training very well” said Bin Suroor. “We are keen to try him on the different surface and over 2000m. He has improved physically since last season and is a nice horse.”
Last year’s winner Special Fighter, now trained by Maria Ritchie, bids to become the first dual winner of the race. He has not run since fourth in last year’s Dubai World Cup.
Erwan Charpy saddled Furia Cruzada to make a winning local debut in the 1900m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 under stable jockey, Antonio Fresu.
She will not be inconvenienced by the slight step up in trip having won in Group 1 company over 2200m in Argentina.
“She would have needed that first run so it was a great effort,” said Fresu. “She was probably tiring a bit in the final 100m but she was game and seems in great form at home.”
The five year old bay mare was chased home four weeks ago by another local debutant, the Doug Watson-trained Second Summer who was finishing fast under Pat Dobbs, failing by just a nose.
“We were delighted with that first run when, with a bit more luck in running, he might have won,” said Watson. “He has improved from that outing and we are very hopeful of a big effort.”
No horse has ever won the UAE Derby and the Dubai World Cup, a fact Japan’s Lani will be hoping to remedy having won the final Classic of the UAE season, on the Dubai World Cup card, last March. He makes his seasonal debut and has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle.
In the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal sponsored by Emirates Skywards, the Maria Ritchie trained Muarrab is looking to defend his crown, having won the title 12 months ago before following up in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen over the same 1200m on dirt on World Cup Day.
He has not won since though, finishing second on all three outings this season, most recently in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint behind Cool Cowboy.
Trained by Watson, Cool Cowboy actually won the 1600m Group 3 Burj Nahaar on this card last year but showed a good turn of foot to grab Muarrab close home last time.
“He is working very well and, from a good draw, should run a big race,” said Watson.
Previously it was a similar story for Muarrab in the Listed Dubawi Stakes, this time denied by the Satish Seemar-trained veteran star – Reynaldothewizard.
The very popular 11 year old was victorious in both this race and the Golden Shaheen in 2013, he also beat Cool Cowboy when victorious in last year’s Dubawi Stakes.
“He is a great old horse and a real favourite in the yard,” said assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar. “Hopefully he will go very close.”