Naval Crown holds off Master Of The Seas in Dubai

Charlie Appleby was not too disheartened to see his 2000 Guineas hope Master Of The Seas suffer defeat at the hands of lesser-fancied stablemate Naval Crown on Thursday.

Paddy Power pushed the Superlative Stakes winner out to 25-1 from 16s for the Newmarket Classic, with the winner into 40s from 66-1.

Appleby felt Master Of The Seas, who signed off as a juvenile with a very creditable two-length fourth to Thunder Moon in the National Stakes at the Curragh, will benefit from having the freshness knocked out of him when he returns to Europe.

Naval Crown, third in the UAE Guineas three weeks ago, set out to make all in the Meydan Classic over a mile under Mikael Barzalona and while Master Of The Seas cruised up, he could not reel the winner in.

“Naval Crown was a Group-level two-year-old and we obviously thought he was up to that level at two,” said Appleby.

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“We weren’t planning to run him in the (UAE) Guineas, but he was working nicely on the dirt so we thought we’d run him and he ran a solid race.

“Coming back to turf was always going to be in his favour and he came into the race fit and with conditions to suit. He’s gone and done it nicely.

“I personally think we’ll come back in trip when we get back to Europe. Something like the Jersey Stakes, he’s got plenty of speed.

“I was pleased with Master Of The Seas, he’s very much a work in progress.

“He was very keen in the National Stakes and he’s shown signs of that at home, the lads have done a good job in getting him to relax but he’s fresh and well and showed that.

“With Master of Seas – he is fresh and well, and he showed that this evening. William (Buick) said he will come on a bundle for that. At least he learnt something this evening, William got him into a rhythm, he was here to win his race, but he got tired down the straight, but I am happy we got him out. He is very much a work in progress for Europe.”

Appleby and Buick were also on the mark with Star Safari in the Dubai Millennium Stakes.

Frankie Dettori is enjoying a fine Carnival meeting and was yet again seen to great effect, this time on Saeed bin Suroor’s Volcanic Sky in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy.

Dettori took the race by the scruff of the neck at halfway and stole an advantage he just about clung on to, as Global Heat closed to within a short head.

“I took it up halfway round the turn when the leader dropped away and I got first run on the others,” said Dettori.

“He kind of lost concentration at the end but he’s been running well all season and deserved a big one.”

Seas aiming to Master Meydan Classic rivals

Master Of The Seas limbers up for a potential tilt at the 2000 Guineas in the Meydan Classic in Dubai on Thursday.

The son of Dubawi looked a top-class colt in the making after winning on his first two career starts at Newmarket last summer, including a Group Two success in the Superlative Stakes in July.

Charlie Appleby’s charge, who was last seen finishing a close-up fourth in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September, is a best-priced 16-1 for the first British Classic of the year at Newmarket in May ahead of facing five rivals at Listed level at Meydan.

“Master Of The Seas is well clear on ratings and we know that he is the class horse in the race,” Appleby told

“Any sign of last year’s performances is going to make him very hard to beat, although this is very much a prep race ahead of his European campaign.

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“We were tip-toeing away with him and he was doing everything nicely at home, so I felt that I would rather give him a run at Meydan.

“We are looking at the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Hopefully he can get a nice run under his belt before heading back to Europe.”

Master Of The Seas is joined by stablemate Naval Crown, who finished third in the UAE 2000 Guineas three weeks ago.

Appleby added: “Naval Crown has race fitness behind him, having produced a creditable performance in the UAE 2000 Guineas.

“Reverting back to the turf is going to be more to his liking and, if Master Of The Seas doesn’t run up to form, Naval Crown is a horse who could pick up the pieces.”

Mayehaab, Sharp Spun, Yurman and Nibras Passion are the other hopefuls.

Appleby also saddles strong contenders in the two Group Threes on the card.

In the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, the Moulton Paddocks handler runs Ispolini, who needs to raise his game following a couple of below-par efforts so far this year.

“Ispolini has just been struggling to find his form lately – but he is a past winner of this race and any rekindling of that old form is going to put him bang there,” said Appleby.

Ispolini is one of four Godolphin representatives in the one-mile-six-furlong contest along with Saeed bin Suroor’s trio of Global Heat, Volcanic Sky and Brilliant Light.

Volcanic Sky, Global Heat and Ispolini finished second, third and fourth respectively behind the Bin Suroor-trained Dubai Future in the Meydan Cup earlier in the month.

Appleby’s Star Safari will be a hot favourite for the Dubai Millennium Stakes off the back of a course-and-distance win a fortnight ago, with Bin Suroor fielding Bedouin’s Story, Dream Castle and Royal Marine.

“Coming back in trip doesn’t concern us with Star Safari as he broke the track record for this distance at the Carnival last year,” said Appleby.

“He came out of his recent handicap win in good form and we are hoping that he can run a big race in this company.”

Bedouin’s steps up for Zabeel Mile challenge

Frankie Dettori is back aboard Bedouin’s Story as he steps up in class for the Zabeel Mile following his last-gasp win in a handicap at Meydan three weeks ago.

The Italian was seen at his very best on the six-year-old, who had been off the track for well over a year.

Having entered the home straight almost last in the 16-runner affair, Dettori timed it to perfection, winning by a nose.

“He was too far back in the race, but we had Frankie on who gave him a good ride,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

“Luckily, he got a clear run all the way and he got there.

“This time he is in a better race – it’s a Group Two, so it’s a big step up for him.

“We’ll give him a chance at this level and see how he gets on, he’s already had a run so he’s fit.

“I don’t think so much he needs a big field, usually at the Carnival they are good races, strongly run, and that suits him.”

Dettori’s mount is likely to have most to fear from Charlie Appleby’s duo of Art Du Val and D’bai. Appleby also runs Velorum.

D’bai seen in winning action at Haydock last summer
D’bai seen in winning action at Haydock last summer (Steve Davies/PA)

Appleby said: “D’Bai ran a very good race in the Al Fahidi Fort and the return to 1600 metres (a mile) is not a concern as he won over the trip as a young horse. We think the trip will suit him at this stage of his career.

“The 1800m (nine furlongs) looked slightly too far for Art Du Val in the Singspiel, so the drop back 200m should be in his favour.

“Velorum needed the comeback run in the Al Fahidi Fort and has improved from it. We think he can be competitive at this level.”

The Group Two Balanchine sees Appleby’s Althiqa and Summer Romance take on Bin Suroor’s Dubai Love and Last Look, with the Roger Varian-trained Stylistique also in the mix.

A’Ali, Caspian Prince, Equilateral, Lazuli, Waady and Nigel Tinkler’s Acklam Express face off in a fascinating Meydan Sprint.

Zakouski stars in Meydan treble for Appleby and Buick

Charlie Appleby and William Buick took the honours with a treble at Meydan on Thursday, highlighted by Zakouski’s success in the Al Rashidiya.

The five-year-old had been beaten by Lord Glitters over the course and distance three weeks ago, but turned the tables in comprehensive fashion.

Buick had Zakouski well-positioned just off the pace set by Court House, before moving the Shamardal gelding off the rail early in the straight to make his move.

Quickening into the lead, Zakouski (10-11 favourite) went on to win by three-quarters of a length from Court House, who just held Lord Glitters for the second spot.

Appleby said: “I’m delighted. He’s definitely stepped forward for his first run. I felt that race became a bit disjointed.

“Coming into this evening we felt there would be more of a sensible pace and William got a lovely ride out there.

“We’ve stepped him up in trip there so we will probably look at the Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday as a semi-final for World Cup night.”

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Zakouski was cut to 7-1 from 10-1 for the Dubai Turf on World Cup night with Paddy Power.

The red-hot combination got the meeting off to the best possible start when Star Safari (5-2 joint-favourite) took the Emirates Sky Cargo Handicap.

Star Safari was produced late to score by three-quarters of a length after two of Appleby’s other runners in the mile-and-a-half contest, Saqqara King and Al Dabaran, had made the running.

Secret Protector looked a bright prospect when landing the odds in cosy fashion to give the pair a quick double in the Meydan Trophy.

The 4-11 favourite led a furlong and a half from home and bounded clear to win by five and a half lengths from Areen.

The War Front colt had looked very promising in both his starts at Kempton and could be set for a good campaign on turf in the UK.

“I think he’s going to be one of the horses that is going to be towards the forefront of our three-year-old squad,” said Appleby.

“He’d have gained a lot of confidence this evening and physically he’s improving week on week. We’ll go back and look at the options. We’ve got something like the Feilden over nine furlongs at Newmarket.

“William said he could come back in trip. Personally I think he could be a nice 10-furlong horse for 2021.

“We’ve had a good night and we’ve had a few get beat as well. It shows how strong the competition is at the Carnival.”

Secret Protector was given a quote of 50-1 for the 2000 Guineas with Paddy Power.

Salute The Soldier (11-2) put himself into contention for the Dubai World Cup with victory in round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Third in round one three weeks earlier, the Fawzi Nass-trained six-year-old was always in a good position behind the pace-setting Capezzano.

Adrie De Vries kicked on a furlong and a half out, but the strong gallop started to tell and he was all out to hold Thegreatcollection by a length.

De Vries said: “He hit the front soon enough. He always just does enough. He was getting very tired towards the end, but he was entitled to. We went fast and the ground is riding a bit deep.

“Hopefully we can now go for the big one (Dubai World Cup) with this horse. He has to step up again, but I think he will learn from today.

“He’s a late maturer and there is still room for improvement.”

The John Gosden-trained Dubai Warrior was awash with sweat before the race and was never at the races. Pushed along from the start, he was eased down by Frankie Dettori when well-beaten some way from home.

Bin Suroor eyeing big-race opportunities for Soft Whisper

Saeed bin Suroor is considering options in Dubai and Saudi Arabia for his exciting filly Soft Whisper.

Runner-up on her first two starts in Britain last season, the daughter of Dubawi made it third time lucky at Salisbury in August before following up at Pontefract the following month.

She has taken her game to another level since arriving in Dubai this winter – making a successful dirt debut in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan shortly after the turn of the year, before producing a brilliant display in the UAE 1000 Guineas itself under Frankie Dettori.

Bin Suroor said: “She is entered in the UAE Oaks and also the Saudi Derby. She’s in both races and we will keep options open.

“She is a good filly and unbeaten in Dubai. She won the Guineas Trial and also the Guineas under Frankie. She won both races really well and has come back good from her last race.

“We’re looking forward to the future with her.”

In the immediate aftermath of his filly’s latest triumph, Bin Suroor mooted the Kentucky Oaks in America and even the European Classic races as potential long-term targets.

He added: “We’ll go step-by-step with her and see how she runs in her next race.”

Dubai Warrior primed for Maktoum Challenge

Dubai Warrior bids to add to his six all-weather victories when he tackles dirt for the first time in round two of the Maktoum Challenge at Meydan on Thursday.

Trainer John Gosden is optimistic the surface will not pose a problem to the five-year-old, whose biggest success so far came in the Winter Derby at Lingfield last February.

The son of Dansili will have the services of Frankie Dettori, who is the most successful jockey in the history of a race inaugurated in 1994 with five victories and currently leads the way at this year’s Dubai Carnival. 

“He has been pleasing in his work and works nicely enough on the dirt. Obviously a race is a different matter, so we will find out if he handles it Thursday,” said Gosden.

Among Dubai Warrior’s opposition is Uruguayan raider Ajuste Fiscal, who was fifth to Military Law in round one of the Maktoum Challenge three weeks ago.

Trainer Antonio Cintra Pereira said: “We were very pleased with that first run and the longer trip will suit. We still hope he is a Dubai World Cup horse.” 

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Three other horses from round one – Thegreatcollection (second), Salute The Soldier (third) and Capezzano (seventh) – renew rivalry.

Thegreatcollection’s trainer Doug Watson said: “We have been keen to step him up from 1600m, so this is the ideal opportunity.

“Obviously it is a good race to stretch him out. I think it will suit him, but it is a strong race.” 

Blown By Wind (left) seen here at Newmarket
Blown By Wind (left) seen here at Newmarket (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Capezzano is one of three runners from Salam bin Ghadayer’s stable along with Blown By Wind and Firnas.

Bin Ghadayer said: “Blown By Wind delighted us at Jebel Ali and has been working well since. Capezzano is also going nicely at home, we just need him to transfer that back to the course. 

“Firnas too is in good shape. He is tough and consistent.” 

Lord Glitters (right) represents David O'Meara
Lord Glitters (right) represents David O’Meara (Tim Goode/PA)

David O’Meara’s Lord Glitters will attempt to follow up a recent course and distance triumph in the Al Rashidiya.

The admirable eight-year-old lifted the Group Two Singspiel Stakes in convincing fashion three weeks ago. He has a 3lb penalty to defy in a race monopolised by British-trained runners.

O’Meara said: “That was brilliant in the Singspiel – to travel an eight-year-old and win a big prize was just great. The penalty does not help, but he has remained in great form.” 

Saeed bin Suroor (left) and Charlie Appleby both have runners for Godolphin
Saeed bin Suroor (left) and Charlie Appleby both have runners for Godolphin (Edward Whitaker/PA)

Godolphin have won this Group Two contest for the last four years and have two contenders this time in the Charlie Appleby-trained Zakouski and Saeed bin Suroor’s Dream Castle. They were second and third respectively behind Lord Glitters in the Singspiel.

Appleby said: “We were obviously pleased with Zakouski’s first outing of the year in the Singspiel Stakes, when he produced a good effort. He has come on for that run and a slightly improved performance should put him bang there.” 

Bin Suroor said of Dream Castle: “He ran very well last time and came out of the race in great form. The 1800 metres at Meydan is ideal for him and we expect another big run.” 

David Simcock’s Bless Him, the Ed Walker-trained Cap Francais, Simon Crisford’s Court House and Ralph Beckett’s Kinross complete the seven-strong field.

Mouheeb swoops late in UAE 2000 Guineas

Mouheeb provided jockey Ryan Curatolo with his first winner at Meydan in the UAE 2000 Guineas.

Just touched off in the trial by Charlie Appleby’s Rebel’s Romance, who is now heading to the big meeting in Saudi Arabia, Mouheeb got up close home to deny the brave front-runner Meshakel, formerly trained by Mark Johnston.

Mouheeb may also make the short trip to Saudi next – but should that race come too soon, he is likely to be a warm order in the UAE Derby.

French trainer Nicholas Bachalard, who won the UAE 1000 Guineas with Nashmiah in 2017, said the decision will rest with owner Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum.

“We didn’t think the pace would be that strong and (thought) that he would sit closer to the pace,” said Bachalard.

“Thankfully the horse ran Meshakel down at the right time, and I’m delighted. Hopefully he’s paid back some of the trust the owner has put in us.

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“We have a few choices now, straight to the UAE Derby, or he still holds a nomination for the Saudi Derby – which is only 16 days away. It depends on what Sheikh Ahmed wants to do.

“I’m very pleased for Ryan – since he came to the stable, he’s been nothing but positive.”

It has not taken Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori long to slip back into the old routine of regularly winning races together since they resumed their partnership.

Riding Dubai Future in the Meydan Cup, the Italian came out well on top in a race dominated by Godolphin runners – with the first five sporting all blue.

Riding his fifth winner of the Carnival already, Dettori said: “Obviously he ran a good race last time (second). I wasn’t sure who to follow, so I gave myself plenty of options, got him on the outside.

“He was a true professional – he’s got a very good mind on him for a racehorse.”

Secret Ambition won the Group Three Firebreak Stakes at the third time of asking, having finished second in the last two renewals.

The eight-year-old pulled well clear close home under Tadhg O’Shea for Satish Seemar – but the race was marred by an injury to the favourite Matterhorn, who had been well fancied for the World Cup.

O’Shea said: “He’s danced every dance, but a lot of credit goes to Shane Ryan and his team who have done a lot of work with him.

“He probably would have won more races if he was more tractable away from the gate, but he tends to miss it a lot.

“Shane and his crew have done a lot of work with him, along with Satish and his team. It’s all coming together now.

“We might stretch out in trip, and if he doesn’t he’ll be rock solid in the Godolphin Mile.”

Dettori and Bin Suroor had to settle for the runner-up spot with Final Song in the Listed Dubai Sprint – but there was still another Godolphin winner on the card as William Buick prevailed by three lengths on Appleby’s Man Of Promise.

After the gelding’s second victory on his fourth career start, and first at Meydan, Buick said: “He’s a lovely, neat horse.

“He showed a little bit more speed than what I expected today.

“He travelled beautifully, and had a little look around in front, but it was a nice performance – and he can only go on from here.”

Naval Crown makes surface switch for UAE 2000 Guineas bid

Charlie Appleby is looking forward to seeing Naval Crown tackle a dirt surface for the first time in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan.

After running with credit on his first two career starts at Newmarket and Ascot in the summer, the Dubawi colt made it third time lucky with a runaway victory in the Convivial Maiden at York’s Ebor Festival.

Naval Crown went on to be placed in a couple of Group Three races in France and makes his Dubai debut in Thursday’s Group Three feature.

Speaking in a stable tour for, Appleby said: “He is untried on the dirt, but he ticks a couple of the boxes in respect that he takes a nice level of form into the race with experience and what he has shown us on the turf is a lot of natural gate speed.

“As we know, it is something that is a positive on that surface and if he can switch his turf form to that dirt surface, he is obviously going to be a big player on Thursday night.”

Naval Crown has upwards of 9lb in hand over his five rivals on official ratings. His biggest threat looks to be Mouheeb, who made a winning debut at Jebel Ali in December before being touched off by the Appleby-trained Rebel’s Romance in last month’s UAE 2000 Guineas Trial.

Of the latter, Appleby added: “He goes for the Saudi Derby and he would have a bit to find on ratings, but his profile is going the right way and he deserves a chance there.

“We are looking forward to seeing him run.”

The other Group Three on the card is the Firebreak Stakes, for which Matterhorn is a red-hot favourite.

An eight-time winner when trained in Britain by Mark Johnston, the six-year-old has been off the track since claiming Group One glory for Salem bin Ghadayer in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge last March.

There is plenty of British and Irish interest on the undercard, with Ed Walker’s Desert Doctor a leading hope for the opening six-furlong handicap and Ken Condon’s Could Be King and the Charlie Hills-trained Fleeting Prince in contention for the Dubai Sprint.

Knicks Go part of high-class nominations for World Cup night

Pegasus World Cup winner Knicks Go heads a star-studded list of nominations for the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 27.

Brad Cox’s five-year-old got the year off to a flying start with an all-the-way win at Gulfstream Park last month, to follow up his Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile triumph.

Knicks Go is among 176 nominations for $12million Group One that includes Bob Baffert’s lightly-raced Malibu Stakes scorer Charlatan.

Knicks Go after his triumph in the Pegasus World Cup
Knicks Go after his triumph in the Pegasus World Cup (Mathea Kelley)

Other major contenders for the 10-furlong showpiece are Shug McGaughey’s multiple Group winner Code Of Honor, Godolphin’s unbeaten Maxfield from Brendan Walsh’s American stable and the Bill Mott-trained Tacitus.

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John Gosden’s Dubai Warrior – who is expected to run in the Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 2 next week – has been given an entry.

Addeybb is the standout in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, although he is more likely to head to Australia instead, according to his trainer William Haggas.

The Japanese representation is led by Chrono Genesis, who most recently won the Arima Kinen at Nakayama in December.

Chrono Genesis (far side)  is in the Dubai Sheema Classic
Chrono Genesis (far side) is in the Dubai Sheema Classic (JRA)

Among other big names are 2019 Hong Vase victor Glory Vase, the Mott-trained Channel Maker, David Smaga’s Nao Da Mais and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Mogul.

The Gosden-trained Prince of Wales’s Stakes scorer Lord North is one of the nominations for the Dubai Turf.

The Group One could also be the target for the likes of Bahrain International Trophy winner Simsir, trained by Fawzi Nass, Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes victor Colonel Liam and Fort Lauderdale Stakes winner Largent, both under the care of Todd Pletcher, and David O’Meara’s admirable globetrotter Lord Glitters.

American-trained horses account for 13 of the 24 winners of the Dubai Golden Shaheen. They have a typically-strong offering, including Peter Miller’s C Z Rocket, Steve Asmussen’s Yaupon and Doug O’Neill’s Wildman Jack.

The six-furlong Al Quoz Sprint has attracted nominations from across the globe, headed by by star Australian sprinter Bivouac, trained by James Cummings for Godolphin.

Among other winners at the top table are Neil Drysdale’s Oleksandra and Roger Teal’s July Cup winner Oxted.

There is a strong British presence in the Dubai Gold Cup, headed by Charlie Fellowes’ Melbourne Cup-placed Prince Of Arran, Mark Johnston’s Prix Royal-Oak scorer Subjectivist and Andrew Balding’s Doncaster Cup winner Spanish Mission.

Soft Whisper far too good for UAE Guineas rivals

Saeed bin Suroor won the UAE 1000 Guineas for the 12th time as Soft Whisper fairly bolted up at Meydan.

Ridden with extreme confidence by Frankie Dettori, the Sea The Stars filly was even more impressive on this occasion than in the trial three weeks ago.

Content to get a lead until just before the turn into the straight, as soon as Dettori gave his mount an inch of rein, she cruised into the field and pulled further and further clear to win by seven lengths.

Dettori said: “She missed the kick last time, but jumped really good today. I was always in position A and in control.

“When I kicked, she went, it was as simple as that really. I didn’t have to do much and she’s got a bright future.

“Saeed has mentioned everything – Saudi, the UAE Oaks, the UAE Derby – when they win so impressively you can get excited.

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“I just said to Saeed, the last time I won on one as easy as that was probably Dubai Millennium, so it only took me 21 years to win on one as easy, but we have big hopes for her. She might not have beaten much, but you couldn’t help but be impressed.

“We’ll take it one step at a time, nothing tested her today, so it would be wrong of me to say how good she is until she faces better competition.”

Bin Suroor said: “She got confidence when she won last time. She was blowing really hard after it, she needed it, she wasn’t really fit enough but still won.

“She worked really nicely a week ago, the trial put her spot on for this. She’s improving all the time and the trip is fine.

“We’ll keep options open, obviously the UAE Oaks and even the Derby are possible, we’ll speak to Sheikh Mohammed. She’s a filly for the future really.

“We’ll enter her in the Kentucky Oaks and think about the European Classic races.”

Dettori might not have needed to do much on Soft Whisper, but he timed his run on Bedouin’s Story to perfection in the Longines Spirit Collection Trophy.

Charlie Appleby and James Doyle teamed up to win the Cape Verdi at Meydan for the third successive year as Althiqa came from last to first to win impressively.

Following on from the victories of Poetic Charm and Magic Lily in the last two years, the four-year-old filly was backing up a successful season in Europe.

Althiqa was a winner at Newmarket last year
Althiqa was a winner at Newmarket last year (Hugh Routledge/PA)

She won a Listed race in France as well finishing placed in three Group Three events, but was having her first outing for over 140 days.

That mattered little with Doyle settling her right at the rear as Summer Romance and Stunning Beauty ensured a stiff pace.

The latter soon dropped away and Summer Romance was tired in the final furlong, as first Roger Varian’s Stylistique and then Althiqa swept by for a stylish win.

Godolphin dominated the Listed Zabeel Turf with the first six home all sporting the royal blue silks, headed by the unexposed Ya Hayati.

Not seen since being well beaten in the Golden Gates Handicap at Royal Ascot, Mickael Barzalona came with a late run down the outside to beat Bright Melody and Star Safari, with all three trained by Charlie Appleby.

Lord Glitters sparkles for O’Meara at Meydan

Lord Glitters returned to his best when producing a power-packed finish to land the Group Two Singspiel Stakes at Meydan.

The David O’Meara-trained grey was winning for the first time since the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019 – with that Group One success coming three months after he had finished third in the Dubai Turf.

That nine-furlong heat on World Cup night could again be on the agenda, after Lord Glitters ran out a convincing winner over that distance in the hands of Adrie de Vries. The Dutch jockey was replacing Danny Tudhope who was unable to make the trip to Dubai.

The eight-year-old only had two horses behind him turning into the straight, but once he hit top gear it was a one-horse race.

Lord Glitters powered to victory by three lengths from Zakouski, with Dream Castle a length and a half away in third place.

Speaking from home, North Yorkshire-based O’Meara said: “It’s a mighty performance – an eight-year-old and still running to that level. It’s brilliant and he was given a great ride by Adrie de Vries.

“He ran a lovely race in Bahrain in their big race before Christmas, finishing his race very well. We were hoping he was in good form going out there and that he would be competitive. It worked out very well for him.

“The last time he ran at Meydan in the Dubai Turf he ran Almond Eye and Vivlos quite close, giving them their fillies’ allowance.

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“He’s actually run a really good race there before so he copes with the track well.”

Lord Glitters could well race again before having a second crack at the Dubai Turf on March 27.

O’Meara added: “You’d like to think the Dubai Turf would be the target. There’s a bit of water to go under the bridge before then. There might be a race in February and hopefully on to World Cup night. He’s staying over in Dubai.”

Lord Glitters earned a quote of 6-1 for the Dubai Turf with Paddy Power.

Military March was a disappointment on his first run for Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor since his fourth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in June, finishing eighth.

Frankie Dettori celebrates victory on his return to Dubai
Frankie Dettori celebrates victory on his return to Dubai (Dubai Racing Club)

However, Bin Suroor and jockey Frankie Dettori made amends on Land Of Legends in the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort – the last of the five races on the card in which they teamed up together.

It was a first success in Dubai for Dettori since he won the Godolphin Mile on African Story for Bin Suroor in 2012.

The Italian produced the five-year-old to perfection to lead inside the final furlong and land the spoils by three-quarters of a length and the same from the Charlie Appleby-trained pair of D’Bai and Glorious Journey.

Dettori – who performed his trademark flying dismount – said: “I had the perfect trip. I was sat behind the leaders and got the split at the right time.

“It was a good effort, but everything fell right. We had a good draw and I managed to get him into a nice rhythm and he won.

“Honestly, I’m delighted. We had high hopes all night and we managed to get one in our last race together today, so I’m pleased for Saeed and the team. It’s nice to be back.”

Bin Suroor said: “Isn’t it great to see Frankie back, winning races and riding as well as ever. We have been friends for about 27 years.

“This horse has been working very well and showing lots of speed at home, so we were hoping for a big run but he will improve for that because he had been off since March.”

Dettori completed a double when steering the Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral to victory in the Dubai Dash.

Always prominent as Caspian Prince helped set a scorching pace, Equilateral quickened nicely to follow up his victory in the race from 12 months ago.

Of being back in Dubai, where he has enjoyed so much success for Bin Suroor in the royal blue of Godolphin, Dettori, who celebrated his 50th birthday in December, said: “I’m really enjoying my time here, maybe because I’m running out of years but I’m trying to taking it all in.

“Most people are locked in their houses doing nothing, and at least I get to do what I love. I am going to stay here in the United Arab Emirates until Super Saturday (March 6).”

Military Law took round one of the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri in the hands of Antonio Fresu and was cut to 6-1 from 10-1 for the Dubai World Cup with Paddy Power.

Switzerland caused a 50-1 upset in the Group Three Dubawi Stakes beating Gladiator King, his Satish Seemar-trained stablemate and the 1-2 favourite, into third place under Tadhg O’Shea.

Dettori and Bin Suroor together again on opening Carnival card

One of racing’s oldest alliances is reunited at Meydan on Thursday as Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori team up on the opening night of the Dubai Carnival.

The duo conquered the racing world in the early days of the Godolphin operation, with the likes of Lammtarra, Daylami, Swain, Fantastic Light and Dubai Millennium taking starring roles.

Dettori split with Sheikh Mohammed’s team in 2012 after 18 years, but following a few seasons in the wilderness, the ever-popular Italian built himself back up to once again be very much the man for the big occasion – and Bin Suroor is hoping to relive the glory days.

In Military March, who was among the favourites for the Derby having finished fourth in the 2000 Guineas before injury curtailed his season, Dettori has been entrusted with the stable’s big hope.

Military March won the Autumn Stakes a a juvenile
Military March won the Autumn Stakes as a juvenile (Tim Goode/PA)

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“We are friends, we have been for many years, ever since the start of Godolphin,” said Bin Suroor.

“I’m going to support Frankie with better horses out in Dubai and in the UK when he is free, so I’m looking forward to seeing some good results with him again.

“We had lots of success worldwide. He’s the best jockey in the world and we’d been together for years and years before this and it’s great that it can continue.”

Military March reappears in the Group Two Singspiel Stakes, where he will face a previous Queen Anne winner in Lord Glitters and Ralph Beckett’s smart Kinross.

“He’s obviously coming back off a long break, but since he’s been in Dubai he’s been working really nicely,” said Bin Suroor.

“This is his first race of the year, but we’re looking forward to it – he’s in good condition and good form.

“Of course he’ll improve from the race, he needs it, but so far he’s doing good. He’s happy and fresh in the morning.

“I’m sure Frankie will give him a nice ride and we’ll take it from there.”

Military March has also been given an entry in the Saudi Cup, but has yet to race on a dirt surface.

Dettori and Bin Suroor enjoyed plenty of success together
Dettori and Bin Suroor enjoyed plenty of success together (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

“We’ll see how he gets on in this before deciding about whether to switch to dirt. He has an entry in the Saudi Cup. We might give him a run on the dirt to give him a chance to prove he can,” said his trainer.

Dubai Icon in the opening seven-furlong handicap, Desert Fire in the Dubai Racing Club Classic, Gifts Of Gold in Round One of the Al Maktoum Challenge and Land Of Legends in the Al Fahidi Fort are Dettori’s other rides for Bin Suroor.

He also teams up with Charlie Hills to ride Equilateral in the closing five-furlong sprint.

Caspian Prince kicks off 2021 campaign in Dubai Dash

Veteran sprinter Caspian Prince begins what is likely to be his final season in Meydan on Thursday.

Part-owned and trained by Mick Appleby, the speedster officially turned 12 this month but showed throughout 2020 he is far from a back number.

He has had 106 races, winning 21 times and is approaching the £1million mark in prize-money earned. He will be beginning a fifth Dubai campaign in the Dubai Dash, which unusually for him sees him carrying a good deal less than top-weight.

“He still seems in good order. He went out last week and if he’s in the sort of form he showed last year, he should give a good account,” said Appleby.

“It’s unusual for him not to be in a handicap with top-weight, hopefully he should go well.

“He’s got a big following – people like these sprinters, they can follow them year after year. I imagine this will be his last season, hopefully he can get a win and try to go out on a high.

“He’s won almost £1million and, sadly from my point of view, horses like him don’t come along very often.

“He broke a track record at Yarmouth last year and there still won’t be many as fast as he is over that first furlong.”

At the head of the weights is the former Roger Varian-trained Ekhtiyaar, who is now with Doug O’Neill, while Charlie Hills’ Equilateral and Charlie Appleby’s Lazuli also line up.

Rebel’s Romance makes no mistake in UAE 2000 Guineas Trial

Charlie Appleby’s Rebel’s Romance maintained his unbeaten record in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan, as Mouheeb made him pull out all the stops.

With wins at Newcastle and Kempton under his belt already, the Dubawi gelding brought a tall reputation into the race and all appeared to be going smoothly as William Buick circumnavigated the field on the final bend.

He looked sure to put the race to bed as soon as he hit the front, as his stride lengthened – but the also-unbeaten Mouheeb refused to wilt.

The Jebel Ali winner stuck to his task gamely, not allowing Rebel’s Romance any peace in front, but in truth Buick did not have to get too serious with his mount and he managed to keep him at bay, with the pair well clear.

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Appleby said: “That was a perfect first experience on dirt and he will have learned a lot. He was a bit slowly away as we expected, but he has travelled strongly and picked up well.

“It looked close at the end, but when you watch it back William has really looked after him and given him a nice education with the UAE 2000 Guineas in mind.

“Whatever he does this year though he is going to be a really nice horse for 2022 and is one to look forward to. As a gelding, hopefully he will be around for a few years.”

Buick said: “It was a very pleasing performance, he adapted well to the dirt which is never easy.

he responded when the second horse came at him so he had something left in the tank

“His two wins at home came on an artificial surface, but running on a dirt track is so different.

“I thought he showed his class today, he was always going to come on for today and I’m sure they’ve left something to work on so it was very pleasing overall.

“I could feel my horse getting lonely in front, but then he responded when the second horse came at him so he had something left in the tank.

“The horse who finished second won well at Jebel Ali and looked a good horse that day, I think they set a decent standard.”

Soft Whisper books UAE 1000 Guineas ticket

Soft Whisper led home a one-two-three for trainer Saeed bin Suroor in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan.

The daughter of Dubawi overcame a slow start to comfortably land the spoils in the hands of Pat Cosgrave, with her stablemates Last Sunset and Final Thought second and third respectively.

Jumeirah Beach broke well from the stalls and set a good early pace while Soft Whisper had to be rousted to get a decent position after her tardy beginning.

However, she was well-placed at the top of the straight and asserted over a furlong out to win by two and a half lengths, with three and a quarter lengths back to Final Thought.

“She jumped slow from the gate, but her class saw her win well,” said Bin Suroor.

“Halfway in the race she was travelling nicely and that is what she shows us in the morning when she works.

“She’s a nice filly, twice a winner in England. When she came to Dubai in October she wasn’t in her best condition, but in November and December she improved physically and works well in the morning.

“I like her. She’s a strong, big filly now. The next targets now are going to be the Guineas and the Oaks after we speak to Sheikh Mohammed.

“She will get the trip, no problem.”

Bin Suroor was also happy with the runs of Last Sunset and Final Thought.

“Nine furlongs will be no problem for them. They are nice fillies and will improve and in time will be better,” he said.

Cosgrave said of the winner: “She did everything wrong tonight. She flopped out of the gates. I didn’t have a great run round and had a harder race than I wanted to.

“She will learn plenty today and will be a better filly next time.

“It took me to the 100 (metre) marker down the back to pull her up, which is always a good sign. I was confident going into tonight that she’d win and I think, with a cleaner run, she’d have won a lot further.”