Andrea Atzeni is excited to get back on board last season’s Sprint Cup hero Emaraaty Ana on Super Saturday at Meydan.
Runner-up to Winter Power as a 40-1 shot for the Nunthorpe at York last summer, Kevin Ryan’s charge proved that was no fluke when narrowly denying Starman in a thriller ay Haydock in September.
He subsequently finished fourth behind American speedball Golden Pal at the Breeders’ Cup and will make his first competitive appearance since in this weekend’s Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.
“I’m looking forward to riding him. He’s done a strong bit of work at Southwell. I watched the video and it looked like a solid piece of work,” said Atzeni.
“Kevin is very happy with him and if he’s ready, hopefully he’d be the one to beat on form.
“He was good at Haydock and ran well at the Breeders’ Cup considering five furlongs round a bend is probably sharp enough for him. The horse that won it, Golden Pal, is a solid horse out there.
“He loves fast ground and an easy six furlongs at Meydan should suit him.
“He owes us nothing and being a gelding, we’re just going to try to go where the big pots are.”
Emaraaty Ana is unlikely to have things all his own way, with Ado McGuinness saddling last year’s Prix de l’Abbaye winner A Case Of You.
Unlike Atzeni’s mount, the four-year-old has the benefit of a recent run, having made a successful start to his campaign at Dundalk three weeks ago.
Charlie Appleby’s course and distance winner Man Of Promise, Nigel Tinkler’s Blue Point Sprint runner-up Acklam Express and the Karl Burke-trained Lord Of The Lodge also feature in the Group Three field.
Atzeni has a good chance of claiming Group Two honours earlier on the card, with Simon and Ed Crisford’s Without A Fight bringing solid claims to the table in the Dubai City of Gold.
The son of Teofilo steps up in class on his return after rounding off last season by winning a Haydock handicap and a Listed event at Newmarket.
“Without A Fight is a solid horse. It’s his first run back this year and he obviously needs to improve a bit, but there doesn’t seem to be a standout horse in it this year,” Atzeni added.
“Hopefully he’ll run well.”
The biggest threat to Without A Fight appears to be the Owen Burrows-trained Hukum.
The ultra-consistent five-year-old has carried the colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum to seven victories, four of which have been at Group Three level.
The son of Sea The Stars makes his first competitive appearance since winning the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot in October, with Burrows hoping this weekend’s run will leave his charge spot-on for a tilt at the Sheema Classic on World Cup night in three weeks’ time.
“The draw (14) is what it is. Ideally we’d have liked to have been in a bit more in the middle, but he’s pretty straightforward,” he told Sky Sports Racing.
“He normally jumps well enough. Jim (Crowley) will just slot him in where he can. It’s not ideal, but I’m not too worried about it.
“He’s top rated. We just felt last year he took a run or two before he hit top form, so we thought it was asking a lot for him to come off the plane the week before the Sheema Classic and would probably have to run to a career-high mark, so we planned to run him here.
“It is a prep run. We’re very happy with him, but whatever he does he will come on plenty. He’s got three weeks then to enjoy this lovely warm sunshine and he’ll come on massively for that.”
Godolphin-owned course and distance winners Global Storm (Appleby) and Global Heat (Saeed bin Suroor) also feature in the mile-and-a-half contest.
Crisford runner Algiers, a recent winner at Jebel Ali, tops the field for the Group Three Burj Nahaar.
Doug O’Neill has booked Frankie Dettori to partner Appreciated, who won a Listed prize at Meydan three weeks ago and tests the water at Group One level in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge.
The other Group One on the card is the Jebel Hatta, in which popular grey Lord Glitters bids for back-to-back victories.
David O’Meara’s stable stalwart looks the one to beat judged on his recent success in the Singspiel Stakes, with Appleby’s pair of Barney Roy and Zakouski chief among his rivals.