Sethi struck 60, while Sharma took 3-20
Friday marks the final Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting before next weekend's Super Saturday, the main prep for the Dubai World Cup in three weeks time. And the eighth meeting of the Carnival at the iconic Meydan Racecourse will witness an exciting Group 2 affair — the Balanchine Stakes.
It is the lone Group contest on the seven-race card and has drawn a field of eight runners for the 1800 metres trip on turf, for fillies and mares.
The race acts as a pointer to the $6 million Dubai Turf on Dubai World Cup night on March 25.
And leading the line is Godolphin who have landed the last five runnings of this contest. And by the looks of it, the Dubai racing operation looks set to swell that number.
Ace British handler Charlie Appleby, who has come to be known as something of a 'Master on Turf' and has won top races across England apart from dominating the Carnival, saddles With The Moonlight, who won the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks apart from runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks and Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, during her North American campaign last season.
The four-year-old from Frankel, With The Moonlight will be aiming to complete a double of the Cape Verdi-Balanchine. With The Moonlight had got the better of stablemate White Moonlight, the charge of multiple Dubai World Cup winner Saeed bin Suroor, last time out in the Cape Verdi on February 3.
She has a great chance of clinching the Balanchine as she comes up against five of those rivals whom she had beaten in the Cape Verdi, although she makes a step up in trip.
“With The Moonlight has come forward since the Cape Verdi and the step back up in distance is going to suit,” said Appleby.
“She has a penalty to carry but is clear on ratings and has already won at the track this season. She looks the one they all have to beat," added the 47-year-old, who has won this race on four occasions.
If anyone could pose a challenge to With The Moonlight, it could come from within. Godolphin also sends out Tranquil Lady, a new acquisition by the royal blue silks team.
Tranquil Lady, who will partner James Doyle in her first outing with the racing operation, had won the Group 3 Prix de Flore in France.
“Tranquil Lady has enjoyed a nice preparation and we are very pleased with her," Appleby said.
"This will be her first start for us, so we are on a slight learning curve, but we are confident that she will run a nice race. We will potentially see her at her best over further and this will be our first opportunity to get a handle on her ahead of the forthcoming season,” he added.
Godolphin are double-handed in the Jumeirah Fillies Guineas with Saeed bin Suroor saddling Mawj and Appleby who has Fairy Cross.
“Racing over a mile will be a new experience for her — she has plenty of speed — but we wanted to give her the chance to see if she can stay this trip,” bin Suroor said of Mawj, who will be making the step up in trip from seven furlongs to over eight furlongs.
Race 1. Al Karama Stakes
1.Sharp Army; 2. Ah Jeez
Race 2. Defender 90
1.Royal Commando; 2. Colour Up
Race 3. Defender 110
1.Silent Film; 2. Bay Of Honour
Race 4 Jumeirah Fillies Guineas
1.Mawj; 2. Fairy Cross
Race 5 Balanchine Stakes
1.With The Moonlight; 2. Tranquil Lady
6. Jumeirah Derby
1. One Nation; 2. Highbank
Race 7 Defender 75th Limited Edition
1. Stormy Ocean; 2. Tenbury Wells
Day’s Best: With The Moonlight
Sethi struck 60, while Sharma took 3-20
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