Alice Haynes is looking to continue a stellar start to the year as she prepares to saddle both Mr Professor and Freyabella for valuable contests on the opening card of the Dubai Carnival at Meydan on Friday.
Mr Professor provided Haynes with a milestone success when taking the Listed Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract in October, a significant achievement for a trainer in her first season.
Owned by Amo Racing, the three-year-old has been acclimatising to conditions in Dubai ahead of his tilt at the Jumeirah Classic Trial on Friday, run over seven furlongs on turf.
The race is run around a left-handed bend and Mr Professor is drawn in stall one, something Haynes is hoping will prove beneficial as the bay’s best performances have come on similar courses.
“We started to see that a straight track doesn’t really suit him,” she said.
“Round the bend is how he loves it, he settles and runs his race around the bend.
“I think he’s three from three around a bend and he’s a horse I also think will be better this year and he will get that mile and a quarter in time.
“He’s settled in great over here, he’s done a nice strong canter on the grass and we’ve got a plum draw on Friday, so we’re really excited to see how he gets on.
“Whatever he does, having been off the track since October, he will come on from.
“He’s definitely a special a horse to me, to get a Listed winner in our first year is probably why we’re out here now and I’d like to think we have a live chance of picking up a race.”
Haynes has also flown out with the three-year-old filly Freyabella, who will contest the Festival City Stakes before attentions turn to the turf the following week.
The bay has won twice on the all-weather and will represent Haynes for the first time in Dubai having previously been in the care of fellow Newmarket trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam.
“She’s a little bit of an unknown, she was only sent to me because she was nominated (for the race) and she got in,” said Haynes.
“On her pedigree she should stay six (furlongs), especially as a three-year-old, but the dirt is against us with her being by Kodiac.
“This is where we can start her on Friday and then next Friday there’s one on the turf.
“She’s got a good draw so we’ll just have to learn about her this Friday, she’s taken well to Dubai so that’s a positive sign.”
One of the feature races on the opening night of the Carnival is the Group Two Cape Verdi, won for the last six years by Godolphin.
Saeed bin Suroor won three in a row from 2016-2018 inclusive with Charlie Appleby winning the most recent renewals.
This year Appleby runs Wedding Dance, a winner at Wolverhampton on her most recent outing, while Bin Suroor is represented by the Frankie Dettori-ridden Soft Whisper, winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas last year, and Stunning Beauty.
Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com: “Soft Whisper did well last year in both Dubai and the UK, winning Listed races on both dirt and turf. This looks the right race to start her four-year-old campaign and she has been working nicely.
“Stunning Beauty showed better form in the UK last season and has been going well at home, so I’m hoping for a nice performance over a trip that suits.”
Appleby said of his contender: “Wedding Dance improved from her first to second run last season, winning nicely at Wolverhampton. The plan was always to bring her out to Dubai afterwards and we have been pleased with the way she has been training out here.
“She will potentially come forward for this but we feel that she is ready to have a run and should be competitive.”
Mick Channon’s Dalanijujo also runs.
The first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge is the other highlight, with Group Three winner Marie’s Diamond making his debut for Roger Fell having changed hands for 65,000 guineas last autumn.
Hypothetical and Salute The Soldier, fourth and fifth respectively in last year’s Dubai World Cup make their seasonal bows, along with Secret Ambition who was last seen coming home a six-length winner of the Godolphin Mile.