Four-year-olds Bay Of Poets and Dream Castle go for a first G2 success in the Zabeel Mile at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 22 February, one of three turf Pattern races on the eighth fixture of the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Bay Of Poets (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) has made two appearances over nine furlongs at Meydan so far this year and stayed on well to take second, beaten three and three-quarter lengths by Benbatl, in the G2 Al Rashidiya on 1 February.
Last year’s 2,000 Guineas fifth Dream Castle (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) also heads into the Zabeel Mile on the back of a strong G2 performance at Meydan on 1 February, having finished a close third in the Al Fahidi Fort over seven furlongs.
A field of 10 for the Zabeel Mile includes South African G1 scorer Whisky Baron, last year’s winner Championship and Al Fahidi Fort runner-up Janoobi.
Charlie Appleby commented: “Bay Of Poets is a horse who always travels well through his races and we are hoping that a strongly-run mile will play to his strengths.”
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Dream Castle has been a little disappointing on his two starts so far this year. He always shows a lot of class in his work in the mornings and ran well to finish fifth over this trip in last year’s 2,000 Guineas.
“He is fit, ready to go and I am hoping there are no excuses for him this time.”
Thursday’s other G2 is the six-runner Meydan Sprint, in which Blue Point (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) kicks off his four-year-old season against prolific Meydan winner and course record holder Ertijaal.
Shamardal colt Blue Point, dropping down to five furlongs for the first time and drawn two, was one of Europe’s leading sprinters last year with a pair of impressive G3 victories over six furlongs at Ascot and a fine third in the G1 Commonwealth Cup over the same course and distance.
Charlie Appleby added: “Blue Point is in great order and his preparation has gone very well. This will be his prep race for the Al Quoz Sprint (G1, 6f) on Dubai World Cup Night (31 March) and I would expect there to be some improvement to come for his first run of the season.
“He is racing over five furlongs for the first time but he shows a lot of natural pace and it wouldn’t be a concern. It could potentially open up a few options looking ahead to the European season.”
Four Godolphin contenders for the 10-furlong G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes include Folkswood (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), runner-up in the G1 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline on Super Saturday last year.
The five-year-old makes his first start since a tremendous Australian campaign that included victory in the Listed Cranbourne Cup as well as a fine third behind Winx in the G1 Cox Plate over a mile and a quarter at Moonee Valley in October.
He is joined by a trio of Saeed bin Suroor-trained horses – Leshlaa (Pat Cosgrave), who readily took a handicap over the same course and distance on 8 February, Listed winner Team Talk (Oisin Murphy) and G3 runner-up Carry On Deryck (Gerald Mosse).
Charlie Appleby remarked: “Folkswood produced a career-high when finishing third to Winx in the Cox Plate and then produced a very creditable performance to come home fifth in the G1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington in November.
“He looks in good order and this will be a nice prep race ahead of another crack at the Jebel Hatta next month.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Leshlaa won nicely over this course and distance on his latest start but this will be a tougher race. He comes into this contest in good form and I am hopeful of another good result.
“Team Talk has been working well and is ready to go again, while I have been happy with Carry On Deryck since his last run.”
Less than a length separated Gold Star (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon), Walton Street (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), Eynhallow (Charlie Appleby/Brett Doyle) and Huge Future (Saeed bin Suroor/Gerald Mosse) when they finished first, second, fourth and fifth in a 12-furlong turf handicap on 1 February and all four re-oppose over the same course and distance.
Wolf Country (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle), a Listed winner in France last year, also lines up in the same race.
Footbridge (Charlie Appleby/George Wood) goes in a mile handicap on the dirt as the eight-year-old, fourth over the same course and distance 12 months ago, makes an appearance at the Dubai World Cup Carnival for a fourth consecutive year.
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