Brundtland Returns In Nad Al Sheba Trophy; Saltarin Dubai Defends Curlin

Thursday’s ninth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival

Brundtland Returns In Nad Al Sheba Trophy; Saltarin Dubai Defends Curlin

Thursday’s ninth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival

Brundtland Picture:Pat Healy Photography

The final Carnival fixture before next weekend’s Super Saturday card, is highlighted by the Group 3 $300,000 Nad Al Sheba Trophy (Race 4), the local prep for the Group 2 $1.5 million Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors on Dubai World Cup night—one of the world’s top races for stayers. Thursday’s card also features the Listed $160,000 Curlin Handicap (Race 5), which has been used as a prep by two Dubai World Cup winners.

Two more races on the undercard could produce Dubai World Cup night (Mar. 30) horses, including the Meydan Trophy (Listed) over 1600m on turf for sophomores (Race 2), as well as the Group 1 $95,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 for Purebred Arabians, which kicks off the seven-race night. The whole evening is sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City—District One, which also sponsors the $1.5 million Godolphin Mile (G2). The first race’s post time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

NAD AL SHEBA TROPHY (Group 3 | $300,000 | 2810mT)

A select field of seven have been declared for the Nad Al Sheba Trophy sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One (G3) a 2810m turf marathon and prep for the 3200m Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup. Godolphin is responsible for four of the runners, headed by bona fide Group 1-level runner Brundtland.

As a 4-year-old and youngest horse among the septet, Charlie Appleby’s charge receives weight from his six rivals as he seeks to get back to winning ways after a luckless fourth-place finish—when almost knocked over—in the 3000m Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak at Chantilly on Oct. 28. This was the same trip over which he had previously won the Group 2 Prix Chaudenay on Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp. The Dubawi colt won his only start as a juvenile and his next three outings last year before the race at Chantilly, thus coming into Thursday’s affair an intriguing possible star of the future. William Buick will be aboard from the outside post, which should not be too much of an imposition with a nearly 650m run to the first turn.

“Brundtland is a dual Group 2 winner who ran very well when probably a bit unlucky in a Group 1 race on his most recent start,” Appleby said. “We have freshened him up and he looks to have progressed from (age) three to four. This is a prep race for his main target, the Dubai Gold Cup on the Dubai World Cup card, so we are expecting a fair amount of improvement from this run, but he is classy and we expect him to be very competitive.”

The main danger could come from Appleby’s other contender, Ispolini, to be ridden by Mickael Barzalona. He won on his latest outing, a handicap over this 2810m course and distance when partnered by James Doyle, who cannot make the weight this time. Prior to that, Ispolini chased home another Godolphin runner, Bin Battuta, the mount of Christophe Soumillon for Saeed bin Suroor, in a 2400m handicap on opening night of the 2019 Carnival. Soumillon’s mount looked as though he would appreciate the return to this longer distance, (over which he was second at York in August 2017), when only third in another 2400m handicap three weeks after his victory.

Bin Suroor said: “Bin Battuta has been running well over 2400m, but we think this trip will help him and help us plan ahead with him. He is in good form and should hopefully run well in what looks a good race.”

International interest is provided by Scandinavian invader Suspicious Mind, second to Ispolini over course and distance on his local debut. The 6-year-old will again be ridden by Elione Chaves for Andrew Kidney and has won 12 of his 25 lifetime starts. The field is completed by veteran stayer Zamaam, seven-time winner Pinzolo and Red Galileo, a Godolphin runner with marked ‘seconditis,’ having finished a runner-up in 12 of 35 starts, including his last two.

CURLIN HANDICAP (Listed | $160,000 | 2000m)

Inaugurated in 2008 under a different title and eventually named for the horse for whom its condition was originally written, the 2000m Curlin Handicap sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One (Listed) has not been won twice, but that could change when Satish Seemar-trained Saltarin Dubai defends his crown. Etijaah could also regain a title he won in 2017, as he appears a main danger in the field of nine.

A Group 1 winner in his native Argentina, 6-year-old gelding Saltarin Dubai opened his local account when landing this race one year ago and doubled his UAE tally, also over this course and distance, five weeks ago in the Jebel Ali Trophy.

Trained by Doug Watson for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Etijaah also landed The Entisar (Listed) over the same 2000m in December 2017, his seventh and most recent local success. Watson also saddles Galvanize, always held in high regard by his trainer and an easy winner, in December, over 1600m at Meydan on dirt.

“Both are in very good form and training well,” Watson said. “Galvanize has a great draw to be ridden positively and we all know Etijaah will be in the rear before, hopefully, staying on in the straight. Both have chances in an open race.”

Third to Saltarin Dubai five weeks ago was Korean challenger, Dolkong, having his second local outing after he finished sixth in the 1600m Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (G2) a fortnight earlier. Trained by Simon Foster, he should close strongly late under Olivier Doleuze as he looks for his seventh win in what will be his 14th start.

Irish Freedom will hope to improve upon a dismal ninth in his local bow on Jan. 17. The former Brad Cox and Bob Baffert trainee is in the yard of Seemar now and should improve. A return to the form that saw him knocking heads with the likes of Accelerate and City of Light makes him a danger.

Spanish invader Parsifal tries the local dirt for the first time, locally based Key Bid and Very Talented look to return to the winning form they had toward the end of 2018 and versatile veteran Earnshaw complete the field.

Remainder of Card

Unbeaten after two starts, Golden Jaguar faces his stiffest task to date when facing 13 rivals in the $175,000 Meydan Classic sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One (Listed), over 1600 on turf (restricted to 3-year-olds). Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash for Phoenix Ladies Syndicate, the Animal Kingdom colt won over 1000m on all-weather dirt at Jebel Ali in January before, 20 days later, landing the 1400m turf trial for this contest.

Third in the trail and subsequently fourth in the UAE 2000 Guineas, Sporting Chance was a Listed and Group 3 winner in Europe last year for Simon Crisford and Abdulla Al Mansoori, however the son of Kodiac has not really fired the same way in three local outings. The first of those was a 1400m conditions race, on turf, won by Charlie Appleby’s Good Fortune, for Godolphin. A colt by New Approach, Good Fortune is likely the main danger to Golden Jaguar, but has not been seen since his win seven weeks ago for Appleby.

The meeting opens with the $95,000 2000m Al Maktoum Challenge R3 Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One (PA G1), the same course and distance as the Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night. Defending champion, Ziyadd, will be hoping to repeat his success of 12 months ago with Richard Mullen again in the saddle for Jean de Roualle and Yas Horse Racing Management. Following last year’s success, they were well beaten in the Kahayla Classic, a race in which Chaddad was a staying on second on his final outing for previous connections. He has now joined Sandeep Jadhav, in the ownership of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, for whom he is having his second start. Goshawke, a gutsy winner of the 2200m second round, and AF Al Sajanjle, third in that race and subsequently victorious in the 1600m Mazrat Al Ruwayah (PA G2) a fortnight ago, are others to consider.

Group performers Ibn Malik and African Ride top the District One Crystal Lagoon Trophy, a 1600m handicap worth $135,000 that could easily produce a runner for the Godolphin Mile with a big effort. The race features the intriguing Walk in the Sun, who boasts a dirt-heavy pedigree and is trying the surface for the first time. He was well-beaten last out in his local bow over 1800m on turf and the cutback should aid the Phoenix Thoroughbreds-owned son of Street Sense.

The final two races of the evening are turf handicaps in which Godolphin looms large, making up 10 of the collective 31 declared. In the $175,000 District One Elegance Stretch Cup over 1400m, Mubtasim will take on Phoenix’s top weight Lansky and Australia’s Muraaqeb, while the $135,000 District One World Class Run nightcap sees 107-rated Key Victory looking to return to the form that saw him as one of the more promising Godolphin runners heading into the Carnival a few months ago.Racing And Sports

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