Stayers hope to steal Dubai World Cup Carnival spotlight

Two-time British Champion handler Charlie Appleby saddles a pair of redoubtable stayers in Siskany and Kemari


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Siskany will be the mount of William Buick. — Godolphin website
Siskany will be the mount of William Buick. — Godolphin website

Published: Thu 16 Feb 2023, 8:10 PM

A week after the sprinters tore up the Meydan racetrack with their raw speed, it’s the turn of the long-distance horses to wow racing fans with their staying power when they contest the 2,810 metre Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, the highlight of Friday’s seventh Dubai World Cup Carnival fixture.

Named after Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, the former headquarters for horse racing in the UAE and the original home of the Dubai World Cup (G1), the contest often leads to one of the flagship meeting support races, the $6m Dubai Gold Cup over 3,200m.

Twelve months ago, Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby won the Nad Al Sheba Trophy with Manobo, who would go on to finish a close second to Japan’s Stay Foolish in the Gold Cup.

On Friday, the two-time British Champion handler saddles a pair of redoubtable stayers in Siskany (William Buick) and Kemari (James Doyle) with an eye on firming up his team for next month’s $30.5m fixture on March 25.

Fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who like Appleby has won the Nad Al Sheba Trophy on four previous occasions, is also two-handed in the race.

The longest-serving Godolphin handler is represented by Global Heat (Pat Cosgrave) and Brilliant Light (Louis Steward).

Together the Godolphin quartet takes on ten rivals led by the Newmaket-trained Ardakan, who represents UK-based Italian handler, Marco Botti.

Assessing the chances of his leading duo Appleby said: “Siskany looks great and will be a player if he brings his best form to the table. He has won over the course and trip (Al Khail Trophy, Jan 2022) so he looks like the one they have to beat. Kemari will also be competitive if he can rekindle some of his old form.”

Bin Suroor, who won the Nad Al Sheba Trophy in 2021 with Volcanic Sky and who subsequently finished sixth in the Gold Cup, is hoping to see some improvement from his two contenders.

“Global Heat won over this trip in the Al Khail Trophy (Jan 2023) and came out of his recent handicap run in good order. He stays well and I’m hoping for another good effort.

“Brilliant Light worked well last week and has some good form over this distance. He is ready to go again and will appreciate the step up in trip.”

The other Group 3 contest on the Meydan turf is the Dubai Millennium Stakes over 2,000, a race that Godolphin has won 10 of the last 12 runnings.

Once again Appleby saddles a pair of leading contenders in Nation’s Pride (Buick) and Ottoman Fleet (Doyle).

The former won the Jumeirah Derby before shipping Stateside where he landed a pair of big wins in the Grade 1 Saratoga Derby and the Grade 3 Jockey Club Stakes at Belmont Park.

The four-year-old son of Teofilo has done most of his racing in the UK or America and will be getting an eyeful of Meydan for only the second time in his career.

Appleby said: “Depending on how he goes here, we will consider potentially looking at the Jebel Hatta (March 4) or the Dubai Turf (March 25).

“Ottoman Fleet goes into the race a fit horse with solid form, so he should be a major player along with Nations Pride.”

Before the two turf highlights three-year-old fillies get their chance to show off when they run in the 1900m Group 3 UAE Oaks.

Leading the seven-strong field is UAE 1000 Guineas sensation Mimi Kakushi who will be hoping to complete the fillies’ Classic double for her trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer.

The main threat appears to be American challenger Ami Please who represents Doug O’Neill, who won the UAE 2000 Guineas earlier this month with Tall Boy.

Racing starts at 6.30 pm with a Purebred Arabian contest, the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah which trainers are known to use as a prep for the Dubai Kahayla Classic.

A field of 13 hopefuls faces the starter’s gun in an open-looking race where Heros De Lagarde, Nadelshiba, and Af Almomayaz appear to be the leading players.


Race 1. Mazrat Al Ruwayah

1.Heros De Lagarde , 2. Af Almomayaz.

Race 2. Jebel Ali Free Zone

1.Mutaraffa, 2. City Walk.

Race 3. UAE Oaks

1., Mimi Kakushi, 2. Ami Please.

Race 4. Lord Glitters Handicap

1.New Kingdom, 2. Moqtarreb.

Race 5. Nad Al Sheba Trophy

1.Siskany, 2. Kemari.

Race 6. Dubai Millennium Stakes

1.Nation’s Pride, 2. Ottoman Fleet.

Race 7. Jebel Ali Port

1.Western Symphony. 2. Ever Given.

Day’s Best: Nation’s Pride

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