With two victories in as many starts and a pedigree that appears dirt-friendly, Rebel’s Romance will be favoured in the 1600m affair for trainer Charlie Appleby.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Racing at Meydan on Thursday is highlighted by a pair of 3-year-old races, including the 1600m UAE 2000 Guineas Trial sponsored by Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, for which 11 have been declared, three for Godolphin seemingly headed by the Charlie Appleby-trained Rebel’s Romance.
The mount of William Buick, Appleby’s charge, a homebred Dubawi gelding, is undefeated after two starts as a juvenile, both on all-weather surfaces, in late October and the middle of November.
Appleby said: “As a gelding Dubai is ideal for him because he can aim at the Classics here. He has done nothing wrong so far and is pleasing us at home. He should run well.” Fellow Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Suroor saddled Soft Whisper and Pat Cosgrave to win the 1400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial last week, but his two runners in this, Line Of Attack and Rich Waters, to be ridden by Hector Crouch and Harry Bentley respectively, would both appear to need to improve significantly on their British form. The former is a once raced maiden, the latter won once from three starts.
For his main patron, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Jebel Ali trainer Nicholas Bachalard relies on Mouheeb, impressive winner of his sole start to date in a 1200m Jebel Ali maiden a month ago when ridden by Tom Marquand. Stable jockey Ryan Curatolo, suspended on that occasion, is back in the saddle and the colt by Flatter is seemingly held in high regard.
Bachalard said: “We have some nice young horses, and he is definitely among the better ones. We decided to keep him at Jebel Ali first time even though the 1200m would be his absolute minimum trip, so we were very pleased with the way he won.
“Obviously, this is a better race under different conditions, but the 1600m should be ideal at this stage of his career.” Similarly unbeaten, albeit after two starts, Zhou Storm is one of two in the race, alongside Grand Dubai, for Ali Rashid Al Rayhi who celebrated a Meydan treble last Thursday. Stable jockey Connor Beasley enjoyed a double on that Meydan card and, unsurprisingly, sticks with Zhou Storm.
Beasley said: “He had to work hard the first day over 1200m, but was then very impressive, under a penalty, over 1400m. He has had a nice six week break and the extra 200m should suit, but we do have a wide draw to overcome this time.”
Jamie Osborne-trained Mekong breezed impressively over the main dirt track on Thursday morning in preparation for the Dubai Gold Cup.
The only Thoroughbred contest on the six-race card, a 1600m rated conditions stakes which has attracted the maximum field allowed of 14, will be highlight of the meeting in the capital on Sunday.
Fernando Jara rode Yaraa to victory at Al Khaznah Stakes, featured handicap over 1800m, to hand Yas Racing and Majed Al Jahoori a scintillating win in Al Ain on Saturday.
The Cricket South Africa on Sunday informed that the Proteas team members have tested negative for the novel coronavirus in the first round of testing conducted upon their arrival in Karachi.
Hayward, meanwhile, took the overall honours in the 10km run with a time of 47:28, finishing a minute and 37 seconds ahead of Helen Boland of Ireland (49:05), while Kahli Johnson of the UK was third overall with a time of 49:10.
The UAE-based GPX Racing has become only the second Emirati team to take outright victory at the Hankook 24H DUBAI after a commanding performance at the Dubai Autodrome on Saturday.