Starlust faces renewed threat from formidable Appleby in Carnival feature

Ralph Beckett's Breeders’s Cup third bids for breakthrough victory at Meydan racecourse in Dubai Turf Trophy

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

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Starlust finished a length behind Star of Mystrey in the Al Wasl Stakes. - Photo DRC
Starlust finished a length behind Star of Mystrey in the Al Wasl Stakes. - Photo DRC

Published: Thu 8 Feb 2024, 4:17 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Feb 2024, 5:36 PM

Five weeks ago trainer Charlie Appleby took on a Breeders’ Cup star and came up trumps at Meydan Racecourse.

Now, the Godolphin handler with seething hot form is looking to work his magic again on Friday as the Dubai Racing Carnival gathers speed.

On that occasion, it was Star Of Mystery who delivered a brave effort in the Al Wasl Stakes to deny Starlust, an eye-catching third in the 2023 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, by one length.

Back in fourth place in the race was another Appleby galloper, Great Truth, who has been handed the task of maintaining Godolphin’s dominance over the Ralph Beckett-trained Starlust in the three-year-old feature, the Dubai Turf Trophy

Charlie Appleby said: “Great Truth has definitely come forward since his run in the Al Wasl Stakes and we are applying a tongue-tie this time. His work has been good and, if he translates his improvement at home to the track, he should be very competitive.”

Starlust during more trackwork at Meydan racecourse. - Photo - DRC
Starlust during more trackwork at Meydan racecourse. - Photo - DRC

The Dubai Turf Trophy will showcase some ex-citing horses from the Classic generation among them Seven Questions, Myconian, Salvuccio, and Zoulu Chief all of whom who contested the Al Wasl Stakes.

Alex Cole, Racing Manager to Starlust’s owner Fitri Hay, commented: “We’re expecting a really big run. This has been his target and he’s in great form. He’s yet to let us down in his nine starts to date.”

Another interesting contender is the filly Frost At Dawn who will be making her fourth start of the Carnival, having finished third in the Jumeriah Fillies’ Classic last week.

“It’s a bit aggressive running her back a week later, but she’s obviously been showing quite a lot of speed in her races so it was an opportunity to drop her back to six furlongs [1200metres] against three-year-olds,” said the trainer William Knight, who is based in Newmarket, England.

“It looks competitive but we get our fillies’ allowance and the drop in distance will help her. At the weights, we’ve got it all to do but she bounced out of the race last week in really good order and has put her weight back on. It will be interesting to see how she gets on over a flat six furlongs and I think she could run a really big race.”

Bombaby Bazar makes his first start for former UAE champion trainer Bhupat Seemar, having been transferred from Richard Fahey’s yard in Northern Yorkshire.

“Bombay Bazaar is doing well,” said Seemar. “He got a bit fractious in the gate the last time so we’ve schooled him and he’s much better.

“He’s fit and healthy and good to go, but the top horse, Starlust, was second at the Breeders’ Cup and only just touched off last time, so he’ll be hard to beat.”

The main supporting race is the Vazirabad Handicap [Presented by DP World, which is named after the three-time French-trained G2 Dubai Gold Cup winner. The 2,400-metre contest has attracted eight runners, including Seemar’s Webinar, a winner over course and distance a month ago.

“Webinar was a winner for us last time and this is his distance, a mile and a half,” said Seemar. “Obviously he’s stepping into tougher company with a few Godolphin horses in there, but we’re expecting a good run.”

Godolphin are mob-handed in the race with four contenders.

Ruling Dynasty, the mount of William Buick, is the leader of the pack that also features Al Marmoom stable companion Al Nafir.

Military March, a lightly-raced seven-year-old gelding and two-time course winner Global Heat represents Saeed Bin Suroor, an eight-time champion trainer at the Dubai Racing Carnival.

Nevershow Weakness aims for his third win in a row when he lines up in the Jebel Ali Free Zone Handicap. The Lord Nelson gelding has had a five-week break since his latest victory.

He faces ten rivals including the Korean-trained Simjangui Godong, as well as multiple course winners Street Mood and Ajuste Fiscal.

The We One Presented by DP World Conditions event attracted Auto Bahn, an interesting raider from Argentina.

“He’s taken to the track really well and adapted quickly to the Meydan surroundings,” said trainer Julio Olascoaga. “He carries a penalty due to being Southern Hemisphere bred but he has the advantage of being six months older, so I think it’s pretty fair really.”

Auto Bahn’s nine rivals include two trained in the UK. Thunder Blue tries the dirt for the first time for trainer Dominic Ffrench Davis and Destructive, trained by Michael Bell, aims to better his fourth on the surface last week.

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The penultimate DP World Logistics Handicap, over 1200 meters on dirt, sees Mr Kafoo go for his third straight win, for jockey Connor Beasley and trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash.

“He’s a great little horse and he’s won twice for me so far this season,” said Beasley. “I think there’s plenty more left in him so hopefully he can keep going the right way.”

Racing starts with the P & O Stakes for Purebred Arabian at 5:30 pm.

leslie@khaleejtimes.com


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