Turkish star prepares to take on mighty Godolphin in Carnival feature

Eight-race winner faces history-seeking Star Safari in Dubai Millennium Stakes



Target on his back: Jockey William Buick pilots Star Safari to victory in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan last year. Star Safari beat stablemate Bedouin’s Story, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, by 1.25 lengths. — Dubai Racing Club
Target on his back: Jockey William Buick pilots Star Safari to victory in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes at Meydan last year. Star Safari beat stablemate Bedouin’s Story, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, by 1.25 lengths. — Dubai Racing Club

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Fri 25 Feb 2022, 12:11 AM

Godolphin have been the dominant force at this year’s Carnival but a Turkish champion is poised to test their mettle when he lines up in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes (Presented by Lincoln), the feature race at Friday’s seventh Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting.

Burgas, an eight-race winner back home, is one of 11 horses who will attempt to stop the Charlie Appleby-trained Star Safari as he bids to become the first horse to win back-to-back renewals of the 2,000-metre Turf contest.

And the horse’s connections appear to ooze confidence as they issued a bullish bulletin about their star. “Burgas is one of the best horses in Turkey; he won the Turkish Derby and he’s beaten Long Runner, who holds the record for the most Turkish Group 1 wins,” said Bulut Karahan, Racing Manager to owner/breeder Fedai Kahraman. “We are using this race to get him ready for the G1 (Longines) Dubai Sheema Classic at the Dubai World Cup meeting.”

However, Star Safari is no pushover and is likely to take all the beating from his rivals, among them several noteworthy international raiders including Marie’s Diamond, who finished second behind the Appleby runner in the Listed Zabeel Trophy over course and distance.

He will once again be partnered by stable jockey William Buick on Friday, with James Doyle taking on his progressive stablemate Royal Fleet.

“A repeat of last year’s performance is going to make him the one to beat,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

Fellow Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor won this race in 2014 with Tasaday and 2015 with Hunter’s Light, and he sends out two contenders in Volcanic Sky, third over 2410 metres two weeks ago, and Big Team, who reverts to the turf after three runs on dirt.

“Volcanic Sky tries hard as you saw in his race last time,” bin Suroor said from Saudi Arabia. “Big Team has been very consistent all season and was finishing his last race .”

New races

Friday’s six-race card features a pair of new three-year-old races including the new 2,000m Jumeirah Derby (Presented by Al Tayer Motors), The most valuable race on the card with a purse of $200,000.

Eight go to post with Appleby’s New Kingdom, second over 1800metres on his local debut last time out, the one to beat.

Former Emirati champion trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri has his string in good order and he saddles Al Ghaith, who was fourth on his last start in Abu Dhabi.

The other new race is the opening Al Karama Stakes (Presented by Lincoln Corsair), for three-year-olds over 1400metres on dirt.

Champion trainer Doug Watson runs exciting debut winner Taking Names, while Salem Bin Ghadayer saddles Rawy, winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial over this course and distance.

Eight dirt sprinters will bid to grab the spotlight in the Lincoln Aviator Handicap, over 1200metres, among them Live In The Moment, who is trained at Adam West’s yard in the beautiful Surrey hills of Epsom Downs. The five-year-old is back on dirt after finishing seventh in the G2 Blue Point Sprint on turf last week.

French hopes

Meanwhile, Watson will look to land the concluding Lincoln Navigator Handicap, over 1600metres on dirt, with Scabbard, while Batwan, a winner over course and distance last month, attempts to make it two-from-two for French handler Nicholas Caullery by taking the 1200m Lincoln Handicap

“Batwan worked well in preparation for this race; he loves it here in Dubai,” said Caullery.

“We’re hoping for a good run here and to earn an invitation into the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup day.”

Batwan’s rivals include dual winner Jadwal, who represents Watson’s Red Stables.

KT SELECTIONS:

Race 1: 1. Sadaaty; 2. Rawy

Race 2: 1. Batwan; 2. Jadwal

Race 3: 1. Waady; 2. Desert Doctor

Race 4: 1. Star Safari’ 2. Burgas

Race 5: 1. New Kingdom; 2. Nations Pride

Race 6: 1. Scabbardl 2. Discovery Island

Day’s Best: Star Safari


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