Meydan Racecourse stages the sixth meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, featuring the US$250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) and Mazrat Al Ruwayah (G2) for Purebred Arabians. Both highlights are over 1600m on the dirt track with the UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, restricted to three-year-olds, having originally attracted the maximum field allowed of 16. This was reduced by one when Waqqad was declared a non-runner. The 15 remaining include both winners of the 1400m trials staged three weeks ago.
The first of those trials was won in scintillating fashion by Godolphin's Gold Town (post 4, William Buick), trained by Charlie Appleby. The son of Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Street Cry was a dominant winner by four lengths over Roland Rocks (post 10, Gerald Mosse) with a similar distance back to Roy Orbison (post 11, Tadhg O'Shea) in third. Both are in opposition again, as are several others who finished well in arrears.
Gold Town won twice in England and looks certain to be suited by this step up to 1600m. Appleby also saddles local debutant Last Voyage (post 7, Mickael Barzalona), winner on his racecourse bow at Windsor in May, but beaten twice since. Appleby is seeking a second win in the race, having saddled Long John to victory in 2014.
“We were both delighted and impressed with Gold Town's dirt debut and we are very hopeful the extra 200m in the Guineas will suit him,” Appleby said. “If he can run to the same level as when winning the trial, he will hopefully be hard to beat.
“We know Last Voyage can run well fresh because he won on his debut, so his absence since October is not a concern,” Appleby continued. “Judged on pedigree, he should handle the dirt and he has trained well on it. His form in Europe was pretty decent and we think the trip will suit on his first try over 1600m.”
Fellow Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor has the best record in the race, first contested in 2000, and is seeking his seventh victory. He relies on Racing Country (post 8, Patrick Cosgrave), second in the other trial three weeks ago before finishing well beaten in last week's Meydan Classic Trial.
Bin Suroor said: “He disappointed on the turf last week, but back on dirt he should run much better and the 1600m will be in his favour.”
Three weeks ago Racing Country chased home El Chapo (post 5, Luke Morris). The three year old won on his first start for trainer Fawzi Nass, making it three consecutive victories. He won his previous pair of outings in England for trainer Richard Fahey. Again the mount of Luke Morris, it was also his first run since being gelded.
“We thought he would run well,” Nass said. “I could not have been happier when he won. Obviously, this is a better race but the extra distance should suit him and we are again hoping he runs well.”
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