Space Blues and Soft Whisper spearhead Godolphin challenge at Saudi Cup - GulfToday

Space Blues and Soft Whisper spearhead Godolphin challenge at Saudi Cup


Godolphin’s Glorious Journey, Space Blues and Rebel’s Romance during a morning workout ahead of the Saudi Cup.

Duabi: G1-winning sprinter Space Blues makes his eagerly awaited return in the 1351 Turf Sprint at King Abdulaziz Racetrack, Riyadh, with exciting three-year-olds Rebel’s Romance and Soft Whisper also featuring on the Saudi Cup undercard on Saturday.

Space Blues (William Buick) crowned four consecutive victories in Europe last season with a first G1 success in the Prix Maurice de Gheest in August.

The Dubawi entire displayed a brilliant turn of foot in the Deauville highlight to comfortably beat dual G1 victor Hello Youmzain.

His trainer Charlie Appleby is also represented in the 1351 Turf Sprint by another son of Dubawi, Glorious Journey (James Doyle), who stayed on well to take third from a wide draw in the near seven-furlong contest 12 months ago.

Glorious Journey has gained two G2 victories over seven furlongs and posted another good effort over the trip when finishing third on his first appearance of 2021 in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan, UAE, on Jan.21.

Further spice is added by Land Of Legends (Adrie de Vries), who quickened powerfully to take this year’s G2 Al Fahidi Fort. The son of Iffraaj has yet to taste defeat over his favoured seven-furlong trip, having also posted three victories in the UK for Saeed Bin Suroor.

Charlie Appleby said: “Space Blues goes into this race in great form. We took him to Meydan last week and he did a nice piece of work, which has definitely brought him forward. He has a good draw in stall two and is the class horse in the race. Any repeat of his European form of last season will make him the horse to beat.

“Glorious Journey was a creditable third in this race last year, when he was unlucky with the draw, and he has unfortunately received another wide draw this time in stall nine. He goes into the race in a similar level of form as 2020 and should be in the mix again.”

Suroor said: “Land Of Legends won nicely in the Al Fahidi Fort and this distance suits him well. He heads to Saudi Arabia in excellent form and I am looking for another good result from him.”

In the Saudi Derby over a mile, Soft Whisper (Mike Smith) and Rebel’s Romance (William Buick) set up an enticing clash between two of the best dirt three-year-olds at the Dubai World Cup Carnival so far this year.

Dubawi filly Soft Whisper has excelled for Suroor on her two Meydan appearances, headed by an imperious seven-length verdict in the Listed UAE 1,000 Guineas on her latest outing.

Rebel’s Romance, who is also by Dubawi, is unbeaten in three career starts for Appleby. He posted a hard-fought victory over subsequent G3 UAE 2,000 Guineas hero Mouheeb in the trial for the Meydan Classic in mid-January.

Suroor said: “Soft Whisper won the UAE 1,000 Guineas impressively and came out of the race well. This will be a tougher race as she is coming up against some nice colts but this is the right distance for her and she has been going well at home.”

Appleby said: “Rebel’s Romance put up a good performance in the UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial and the form has been franked with the runner-up going on to win the Classic. We brought him out to Dubai for this race and have worked back from it every step of the way. He is unbeaten in three starts but this is stronger opposition than he has faced before. Hopefully, he can be a big player in what looks a good race.”

Secret Advisor (William Buick) won both the Listed Meydan Cup and G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy at the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival and the seven-year-old goes for another staying prize in the Red Sea Turf Handicap.

He is joined in the 15-furlong turf contest by Gifts Of Gold (Pat Cosgrave), a three-time winner over shorter in the UK.

Appleby said: “Secret Advisor comes into this race in great form. Like Space Blues, he went for an awayday to Meydan last week and produced some nice work. He was a good performer at Meydan last year and put up another decent effort on his latest start in the G1 Grosser von Bayern, when he finished fourth in a messy race on heavy ground. If he runs up to a similar level, it should make him very competitive.”

Suroor said: “Gifts Of Gold disappointed on dirt in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan and we wanted to give him a chance over this distance. It’s a tough race and he is coming up against some good stayers.”

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