The Classic generation take centre stage at Meydan Racecourse on Friday when a field of ten goes to post in the Dubai Trophy [Presented by DP World].
The 1200metre turf dash was won last year by the UK-trained Al Dasim and six Brits aim to follow in his hoofprints this time. As a Breeders’ Cup runner up, Starlust deserves top billing and comes here fresh from a narrow second to subsequent G2 winner Star Of Mystery in the Al Wasl Stakes. Seven Questions, Great Truth, Myconian, Salvuccio and Zoulu Chief were all behind him last time and all re-oppose here.
Trained by Ralph Beckett, Starlust carries the silks of Fitri Hay, whose Racing Manager Alex Cole said: “We’re expecting a really big run. This has been his target and he’s in great form. He’s yet to let us down in his nine starts to date.”
Carrying bottom weight is the filly Frost At Dawn who will be making her fourth start of the Carnival, having finished third in the Jumeriah Fillies’ Classic last week.
“It’s a bit aggressive running her back a week later, but she’s obviously been showing quite a lot of speed in her races so it was an opportunity to drop her back to six furlongs [1200metres] against three-year-olds,” said trainer William Knight.
“It looks competitive but we get our fillies’ allowance and the drop in distance will help her. At the weights we’ve got it all to do but she bounced out of the race last week in really good order and has put her weight back on. It will be interesting to see how she gets on over a flat six furlongs and I think she could run a really big race.”
The outnumbered local challenge includes Bombay Bazaar, who makes his local debut for Bhupat Seemar, having won twice in the UK for Richard Fahey.
“Bombay Bazaar is doing well,” reported Seemar. “He got a bit fractious in the gate the last time so we’ve schooled him and he’s much better.
“He’s fit and healthy and good to go, but the top horse, Starlust, was second at the Breeders’ Cup and only just touched off last time, so he’ll be hard to beat.”
Charlie Appleby has won four turf races at each of the last two Carnival meetings and he saddles Great Truth, who ran fourth in the Al Wasl Stakes last time out.
“Great Truth has definitely come forward since his run in the Al Wasl Stakes and we are applying a tongue-tie this time,” said the trainer. “His work has been good and, if he translates his improvement at home to the track, he should be very competitive.”
Webinar Aims to Repel Strong Godolphin Team
The main supporting race is the AED300,000 Vazirabad Handicap [Presented by DP World], over 2410metres on turf. Named after the three-time G2 Dubai Gold Cup winner, it has attracted eight runners, including Seemar’s Webinar, a winner over course and distance a month ago.
“Webinar was a winner for us last time and this is his distance, a mile and a half,” said Seemar. “Obviously he’s stepping into tougher company with a few Godolphin horses in there, but we’re expecting a good run.”
Godolphin run four, with Ruling Dynasty, the mount of William Buick, representing Appleby who also runs dual winner Al Nafir. Military March and two-time course winner Global Heat line up for Saeed Bin Suroor.
The Jebel Ali Free Zone Handicap, race five, sees another leading contender in the Fitri Hay silks as Nevershow Weakness aims for his third win in a row. A winner over a mile and then over Friday’s distance of 2000metres, the Lord Nelson gelding has had a five week break since his latest victory.
His 10 rivals include the Korean-trained Simjangui Godong, as well as multiple course winners Street Mood and Ajuste Fiscal.
The We One Presented by DP World Conditions event, race three, has an interesting contender in Auto Bahn, winner of his only start in Argentina.
“He’s taken to the track really well and adapted quickly to the Meydan surroundings,” said trainer Julio Olascoaga. “He carries a penalty due to being Southern Hemisphere bred but he has the advantage of being six months older, so I think it’s pretty fair really.”
Auto Bahn’s nine rivals include two trained in the UK. Thunder Blue tries the dirt for the first time for trainer Dominic Ffrench Davis and Destructive, trained by Michael Bell, aims to better his fourth on the surface last week.
The penultimate DP World Logistics Handicap, over 1200metres on dirt, sees Mr Kafoo go for his third straight win, for jockey Connor Beasley and trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash.
“He’s a great little horse and he’s won twice for me so far this season,” said Beasley. “I think there’s plenty more left in him so hopefully he can keep going the right way.”
The action gets under way with a 1600metre Purebred Arabian contest at 5:30pm and concludes at 10:10pm with a 2000metre turf handicap in which Shadwell’s Wanees looks to hold leading claims.