UAE's fastest horses hope to blitz it in G2 Blue Point Sprint

The Group 2 Blue Point Sprint is the highlight of Friday's sixth Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Tiger Nation will now bid to add the UAE 2000 Guineas to his resume for trainer Salem Bin Ghafayer. — DHRIC
Tiger Nation will now bid to add the UAE 2000 Guineas to his resume for trainer Salem Bin Ghafayer. — DHRIC

Published: Thu 9 Feb 2023, 8:35 PM

It may have taken some of the connections weeks, maybe months, to prepare for this race, but it will take less than 60 seconds for them to discover whether they got it right, or wrong.

It’s the Group 2 Blue Point Sprint, a blink and you’ll miss it contest run over a straight five furlongs that is the highlight of Friday’s sixth Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting.

A popular target for the trainer’s hoping to sharpen the skills of their sprinters, it is no surprise to see that a strong field of 13 horses will stake a claim for bragging rights to be called the ‘fastest horse’ in the UAE.

That accolade was claimed by Godolphin’s Lazuli twelve months ago when he sprinted home under British champion jockey William Buick in just 56.95 seconds, which is quicker than the time it takes to drink a glass of water.

A year older but still sporting his extraordinary sprinting skills, Lazuli sets the standard that the rest of the field will hope to aspire for on Friday.

Trained by history-making Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby, Lazuli aced his prep race, the Listed Ertijaal Dubai Dash when ridden by in-former jockey James Doyle.

Buick comes on board for the Blue Point while Doyle partners stable companion Man Of Promise who finished second to Lazuli in the aforementioned race.

British speedball Acklam Express was runner-up to Lazuli in the Blue Point last year and also finished fourth in the Ertijaal. A highly-regarded sprinter in his day he looks like the one who could pose a threat to the Appleby duo.

Assessing their chances Appleby told the Godolphin website: “Both Lazuli and Man Of Promise go into the Blue Point Sprint in good order. We know Lazuli is tried and tested over five furlongs at Meydan and this is his optimum trip. He is in great form and, even with his draw in stall one, he has speed horses around him and looks the one to beat.

“Man Of Promise ran a good solid race behind Lazuli over this distance in the Ertijaal Dubai Dash and seems to be taking his racing better these days.”

Acklam Express makes his third appearance in the race after being runner-up in each of the last two years. In his seasonal blow, Nigel Tinkler’s trainer finished a respectable fourth behind the Godolphin duo, in the Ertijaal.

Equilateral won this in 2021 and is joined by stablemate Khaadem an impressive winner of the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in late July last year over.

Veteran Dubai handler Doug Watson sampled success in the Blue Point with Waady in 2020 and now sends out Khuzaam, a smart winner of the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint last February.

Khuzaam’s last racecourse visit was at the 2022 Dubai World Cup meeting where he ran on for seventh, in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint behind A Case of You.

“He is really well and in good form having taken time to come around after the summer,” said Watson.

”He has been off a long while which is not ideal in such a strong race but he is certainly a really nice horse.”

Several nice horses who are in the process of building their careers compete in the Group 3 UAE 2,000 Guineas, the second Classic of the season.

Emirati handler Salem bin Ghadayer has several talented younger horses in his Fazza Stables yard and looks to have a good chance of winning the Guineas for the first time with Tiger National, last month’s start-to-finish winner of the trial.

However, danger lurks in the form of the Doug Watson-trained Shirl’s Bee, who caught the eye when winning his maiden over course and distance in December.

Watson is also looking to win a first UAE 2,000 Guineas and said of his colt’s chances: “We have always really liked him a lot, he looks great and has been working very well. He has a good draw and we are really looking forward to running him again.”

Another horse on everybody’s checklist is the strangely named Tall Boy, who represents 2020 UAE Guineas-winning handler Doug O’Neill.

O’Neill’s long-time assistant trainer Leandro Mora has been in Dubai overseeing the preparation of his squad and was looking beyond Friday’s test.

“We think he will be a horse for the UAE Derby and this looks the ideal starting point towards that race,” Mora said.

“He seems to love the Meydan dirt surface and is a really nice, big, strong horse. He should run well.”

Godolphin swept the first three places in the inaugural running of the Listed Business Bay Challenge last year and Modern News, who was third on that occasion, lead the stable’s change in Friday’s renewal of the seven-furlong contest.

Veteran handler Saeed bin Suroor is three-handed with Land Of Legends, Major Partnership, and Shining Blue.

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