Champion Godolphin trainers go head-to-head at Carnival

Ace handlers Bin Suroor and Appleby chase big-race success on second day of the Dubai World Cup Carnival



Ottoman Fleet is carrying Charlie Appleby's hopes of winning his third Rashidiya trophy. — Supplied photo
Ottoman Fleet is carrying Charlie Appleby's hopes of winning his third Rashidiya trophy. — Supplied photo
by

Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Thu 12 Jan 2023, 10:23 PM

All conquering Godolphin handlers Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby go head-to-head in the Group 2 Al Rashidiya, an 1,800 metre contest that is an early pointer to the prestigious $6 million Dubai Turf (G1) on Dubai World Cup day.

Between them, Bin Suroor and Appleby have saddled winners of the last six runnings of the race that boasts a star-studded roll of honour with past winners among them Barney Roy (2020), the St. James’s Palace stakes hero, Benbatl (2018) conqueror of the Caulfied Cup, QEII Cup victor Presvis (2011)and Right Approach (2004), star of the 2008 Epsom Derby.

With four leading chances in the race representing the record-breaking duo, it appears almost certain that Godolphin are well placed to extend and maintain their dominance at the second fixture of the 2023 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Friday.

Bin Suroor has taken home six Al Rashidiya trophies including the most recent twelve months ago when Desert Fire blazed home a very compelling winner.

The veteran Godolphin handler, who joined the team in 1995, relies on Royal Ascot and Bahrain International Trophy winner Dubai Future (Jim Crowley) and runner-up Passion And Glory, while Appleby sends out the Ottoman Fleet and Valiant Prince, a pair with impressive campaigns last season in the UK.

Among the rest of the 11-horse field is the Doug Watson-trained National Day Cup victor San Donato and experienced Irish raider Fastnet Crown.

Assessing the chances of his pair in the Al Rashidiya, Bin Suroor said: “Dubai Future ran some very good races last year, including winning the Bahrain International Trophy on his latest start. I have been pleased with his work going into this. Dropping down to nine furlongs should be fine and I am looking forward to another good result.

“Passion And Glory was runner-up in Bahrain and is a horse who always tries hard in his races. He looks to be in good condition so I am hopeful of a good run.”

Appleby was equally confident that his Marmoom Stables trainees will give a good account of themselves in Friday’s showpiece race.

“Ottoman Fleet comes into this on the back of a nice Listed win at Newmarket and ran well over this distance in the G3 Darley Stakes earlier in the autumn. His preparation has gone well and he should be very competitive,” said the two-time British champion handler.

“Valiant Prince has some solid form over a mile and we feel that the step up to nine furlongs will hopefully see further improvement at this stage of his career.

"If he sees the trip out well, it will open up a few more options,” added Appleby.

Former champion handler Doug Watson acknowledges that Godolphin holds the aces but remained optimistic about the chances of San Donato who is one from one in the UAE having previously been trained in the UK by Roger Varian.

“He only arrived really late last season and was a really tricky horse to train. Oscar Chavez has been riding him at home this year and has really sweetened him up,” said the Red Stables master.

“That was an exciting performance at Abu Dhabi, the way he quickened. Obviously, it is a tough race taking on Godolphin but we are hopeful he can at least be competitive in a strong heat.”

Friday’s seven-race card also features the inaugural running of the Ipi Zombie Stakes, a 1400m turf conditions affair for fillies and mares that honours the Zimbabwean-bred and South African-trained mare who is best remembered for her impressive victories in the Al Fahidi Fort, Jebel Hatta and Dubai Turf (formerly Dubai Duty-Free Stakes, which she strung together in a magical 2003.

Once again Godolphin is strongly represented with Saeed Bin Suroor saddling 2021 UAE 1000 Guineas winner Soft Whisper and Appleby relying on Wild Beauty, an exciting winner of the G1 Natalma Stakes in Canada.

The best of the dirt race of the evening is the Thunder Snow Challenge, a conditions contest over the same 2000m distance as the Dubai World Cup and named after the only dual winner of the $12 million contest in 2018-2019

The field includes Group Two winner Military Law and Group 1 victor Salute The Soldier, from Bahrain.

KT Pick Six Selections

Race 1 1. Royal Mews; 2. Quality Boone.

Race 2: 1. Princeville; 2. Al Qasim.

Race 3: 1. Lovely; 2. Es-Unico.

Race 4: 1. Soft Whisper; 2. Light Of Peace.

Race 5: 1. Ottoman Fleet; 2. Dubai Future.

Race 6: 1. Bendoog; 2. First Constitution.

Race 7: 1. Sense Of Wisdom; 2, Echo Point.

Day’s Best: Princeville.

“Dubai Future ran some very good races last year, including winning the Bahrain International Trophy… I am looking forward to another good result"

Saeed bin Suroor, a six-time winner of the Al Rashidiiya

“Ottoman Fleet comes into this on the back of a nice Listed win at Newmarket (UK). His preparation has gone well and he should be very competitive"

Charlie Appleby, two-time winner of the Al Rashidiya


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