Lazuli leads Appleby charge for Blue Point honours

Lazuli is out to confirm form with stablemate Man Of Promise as the two clash once more in the Blue Point Sprint at Meydan on Friday.

The Charlie Appleby-trained pair were first and second in a Listed race in January and now meet in the Group Two which Lazuli won 12 months ago from Acklam Express, who is once again in opposition.

Man Of Promise has since been beaten again at Listed level and as a result, William Buick has deserted him this time in favour of the likely favourite.

“Lazuli is tried and tested over five furlongs at Meydan and this is his optimum trip,” said Appleby.

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“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 over this distance in the Ertijaal Dubai Dash and seems to be taking his racing better these days.”

The ex-Roger Varian-trained Khuzaam, now with Doug Watson, has his first outing since finishing a four-length seventh in the Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night.

“Khuzaam has taken a bit of time to come around, but is really well,” said Watson. “The long layoff is a worry but he’s a really nice horse.”

Johnny Murtagh’s Ladies Church is an interesting runner but Murtagh suggests her main targets are later in the Carnival.

Ladies Church (near side) is in action for Johnny Murtagh
Ladies Church (near side) is in action for Johnny Murtagh (Brian Lawless/PA)

“She is in very good form, but like all our horses who travelled to Dubai this season, she will probably need her first run of the year,” he said.

Charlie Hill’s pair of Khaadem and Equilateral, plus the Mick Appleby-trained Raasel, offer other European interest.

The UAE 2000 Guineas is the other Group race on the card, but surprisingly there is no Godolphin runner.

Watson’s Shirl’s Bee is defending a one-race unbeaten record and the trainer said: “Shirl’s Bee would be the most interesting of our runners on Friday. He has been training well and we like him a lot. He has a good draw and we’re really looking forward to seeing him run.”

Salem bin Ghadayer’s Tiger Nation looks his biggest threat having won the trial.

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