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 www.godolphin.com.
“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.
“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.”