David O’Meara is looking forward to seeing his globetrotting star Lord Glitters kick off another campaign in Dubai in the Al Rashidiya at Meydan on Friday.
The popular grey won the Singspiel Stakes on this card 12 months ago before going on to finish third in the Al Rashidiya three weeks later, but this year the two Group Two contests have switched places.
Lord Glitters went on to break his Group One duck in the Jebel Hatta and was last seen taking his career earning past the £2million barrier by claiming the Bahrain International Trophy in November.
O’Meara reports his stable stalwart to be in rude health ahead of his latest bid for big-race honours on the international stage.
He said: “He’s in good form and has obviously had a good winter so far after winning over in Bahrain.
“We came back from Bahrain and then left for Dubai in the first week in January.
“He seemed to get on very well in Dubai last year. He won the Singspiel and was third in this race under a penalty and then won the Jebel Hatta. Hopefully he can do something similar this year.”
Lord Glitters is set to face 10 rivals in the nine-furlong contest, five of which will carry the royal blue colours of Godolphin.
Charlie Appleby saddles Art Du Val, Highland Avenue and Royal Fleet, while Saeed bin Suroor is represented by last season’s Cambridgeshire hero Bedouin’s Story and Desert Fire.
“Art Du Val proved a consistent horse in Dubai last year and we gave him the summer off with another season at the Carnival in mind. He goes into this race in good order and will be very competitive if he brings his A-game,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.
“Highland Avenue started his three-year-old career in good form, but was disappointing on his two most recent starts. He has been gelded since and we are looking to rekindle some of his old spark.
“Royal Fleet has progressed through the handicap ranks and we are testing the water at this level. We feel that stepping up to nine furlongs could potentially produce more improvement.”
Bin Suroor said: “Bedouin’s Story continued to show some very strong form in the UK last year, winning the Cambridgeshire and finishing second in the Group Three Darley Stakes. He has been doing well out in Dubai and this looks a good starting point for his year.
“Desert Fire always seems to run his best races as a fresh horse. He looks to be in good condition and has run well over this distance in the past.”
The Godolphin team are unsurprisingly well represented across the card, with Appleby’s Albahr the likely star attraction in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial.
The Dubawi gelding won four of his five starts as a juvenile – with his Grade One victory at Woodbine in September his most recent start after being withdrawn at the start in the Breeders’ Cup.
The Moulton Paddocks handler runs Wolverhampton winner Silent Speech in the opening Dubai Trophy and Haydock novice scorer New Kingdom in the Jumeirah Derby Trial.
In the latter contest, Bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori team up with Island Falcon, who was last seen recording a narrow verdict at Nottingham in the autumn.
Both trainers also possess strong hands in the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort, with Appleby running La Barrosa and Naval Crown and Bin Suroor declaring Land Of Legends and Storm Damage.
“Naval Crown showed good, solid form as a three-year-old and has enjoyed a nice break ahead of the Carnival. He looks great and will be very competitive if he runs up to his best form,” said Appleby.
“We were pleased with La Barrosa’s first start of the winter earlier this month and he has definitely come forward for the outing. We feel that dropping back to seven furlongs is going to suit, although he needs to overcome his wide draw in stall 12.”
Bin Suroor added: “Land Of Legends has been improving with every piece of work. He won this race on his first start of the year in 2021 and we are hoping for another good effort.
“Storm Damage ran well in the UK last season and I have been pleased with him out in Dubai. This distance will suit and he should run well.”
Doug Watson appears to hold the key to the Group Three Dubawi Stakes, with stablemates Al Tariq and Canvassed the top-rated pair.
In the concluding Aliya conditions race, meanwhile, all eyes will be on Appleby’s Rebel Romance, who makes his first competitive appearance since winning the UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night last year.