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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.”

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 Attheraces.com, 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.