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Top sprinters to vie for glory at Meydan today

Dahawi has won both his starts in stirring fashion at Meydan this season and will bid to complete a hat trick of wins in a competitive running of the G2 Blue Point Sprint. (ERA)
Dahawi has won both his starts in stirring fashion at Meydan this season and will bid to complete a hat trick of wins in a competitive running of the G2 Blue Point Sprint. (ERA)

The feature race of week six of the ongoing Dubai World Cup Carnival has attracted some strong international contenders

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Fri 18 Feb 2022, 12:39 AM

For centuries man has been fascinated by speed. We want our cars to go faster, food to be delivered quicker, high-speed internet and, of course, our racehorses to run as fast as they can.

Another exciting chapter in this thirst for speed will be played out at Meydan on Friday when the UAE’s flagship racecourse hosts the Blue Point Sprint (Presented by Jebel Ali Port), a 1,000 metre Turf contest that promises to be run at a furious pace.

The feature race of week six of the ongoing Dubai World Cup Carnival has attracted some strong international contenders led by the Aussie duo, He’s A Balter and Parsifal, and the British raiders Acklam Express, last year’s runner-up, and Commonwealth Stakes victory, Khaadem.

The home challenge is led by Godolphin’s classy sprinter, Lazuli, and two-time Meydan scorer, Dahawi.

The former, who is trained by big-race winning handler Charlie Appleby, is likely to start as the international favourite, having won two Group 2 contests over the same trip in the UK

The son of Dubawi makes his second appearance of the Carnival this year after chasing Man Of Promise home in the 1,200m Listed Dubai Sprint three weeks ago.

Appleby, who has saddled 13 winners at the Carnival, commented: “We were delighted with Lazuli’s first run of the year in the Dubai Sprint and he is dropping back to his best trip here. If he can come forward slightly for his seasonal return, it will make him a very live contender.”

However, danger lurks in the form of Acklam Express, which will be ridden by Rowan Scott for the North Yorkshire-based handler, Nigel Tinkler.

Scott, who enjoyed a memorable day in the saddles last August when he landed his first treble at Redcar, was looking forward to resuming his partnership with the Irish-bred four-year-old and said: “He surprised us a bit last season with how well he ran here, against his elders.

“Then he ran a brilliant race to be third in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night. We’ve got him as fit as we can at home, so I have to be hopeful of a big run.”

He’s A Balter made a sensational Meydan debut last month when going by a neck to French speedball Batwan in the hands of jockey Caitlin Jones, who takes the ride again.

“He’s A Balter’s run last time, only just being beaten, was a great thrill,” she said. “He’s such a gentleman, he tries so hard and he’s very honest. But Parsifal also ran well in a slightly better grade of race, so it was a difficult decision.”

Former UAE champion trainer Mussabeh Al Mheri won the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint last week with Meeras and will be looking to land another big sprint with Dahawi.

“He’s a nice sprinter who has been in good form this season,” said the Emirati trainer. “He’s a straightforward horse who has been working well. This is a good race to find out how much he has improved since his last start since it’s a much stronger race.”

Friday’s card includes two Group 3 contests, one of which is the Nad Al Sheba Trophy (Presented by DP World), a prep for the G2 Dubai Gold Cup, over 2800metres on turf.

A big field of 15 has been declared with Charlie Appleby holding a strong hand with Manobo, a four-year-old son of Sea The Stars, who was unbeaten in four starts, last year, including the Group 2 Prix Chaudenay at Longchamp in October.

“Manobo’s preparations have gone well and this is very much a stepping stone towards Dubai World Cup night,” he trainer told the Godolphin website. “He had a lovely year as a three-year-old and we are looking forward to seeing him back in action.”

Fellow Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Suroor is the most successful trainer in the race with four wins, and he relies on Global Heat, who was just beaten a short-head by stablemate Volcanic Sky in this race last year.

“Global Heat came out of his race last week in good form and has run well over this trip in the past,” said the veteran Emirati handler. “Dubai Horizon has done well since his most recent run, which was his first appearance after a long time. He has been working nicely at home and will also enjoy this distance.”

Also on the card is the Group 3 UAE Oaks (presented by JAFZA), the third Classic of the UAE flat-racing season, and a contest for three-year-old fillies.

Run over 1,900 metres on dirt, the contest has attracted a compact field of seven fillies including the Bahraini-trained Shahama, who is unbeaten in three starts at Meydan this season.

A progressive daughter of proven American Grade 1 sire Munnings, the fastest son of champion sprinter Speightstown, Shahama was last seen trouncing her rivals in the UAE 1,000 Guineas.

Her main rival appears to be Shadzadi, an impressive winner of a maiden here last month, and whose handler, Bhupat Seemar, also saddles Arabian Gazelles.

“They’re both good fillies. Shadzadi won her last race well. Arabian Gazelle was running on fourth and needed more ground. They both have good draws but obviously, the one to beat is Shahama. Otherwise, I think it’s an open race,” said Seemar, who has sent out 21 winners at Meydan this season.

The other three-year-old race on the card is the new Al Wasl Stakes (Presented by Marfa Deira), over 1200metres on turf. While the meeting opens with the 1400metre Mina Hamriya Handicap, on dirt, which has attracted several international contenders

Racing concludes with the 1,600 metre Mina Rashid Handicap, which has drawn a maximum field of 16 hopefuls.

KT Selections

Race 1: 1. Island Rule; 2, Imperial Empire.

Race 2: Silent Speech; 2, Home City.

Race 3: 1. Shahama; 2. Minwah.

Race 4: 1. Lazuli; 2. Acklam Espress.

Race 5: 1. Pablo Escobar; 2. Rodrigo Diaz.

Race 6: 1. Valiant Prince; 2. Dubai Love.

Day’s Best: Shahama

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