Friday's opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan is highlighted by two Group 2 races as well as a Group 1 for the Purebred Arabians.
The UAE 1000 Guineas heroine Soft Whisper in the Godolphin silks bids for another major prize on her return to Dubai in the Group 2 Cape Verdi.
Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubawi filly was an impressive winner of the dirt classic by seven-lengths and then went on to claim a Listed Rosemary Stakes at Newmarket in her summer campaign in the UK.
“Soft Whisper did well last year in both Dubai and the UK, winning Listed races on both dirt and turf,” Bin Suroor told godolphin.com.
“This looks the right race to start her four-year-old campaign and she has been working nicely."
She is joined by stable-mate Stunning Beauty, who makes a second appearance in the Cape Verdi having disappointed in the mile turf feature 12 months ago.
The Shamardal mare subsequently produced three good efforts in handicap company in the UK, including a victory at Doncaster in June.
“Stunning Beauty showed better form in the UK last season and has been going well at home, so I’m hoping for a nice performance over a trip that suits," Bin Suroor added.
Frankie Dettori reunites with Soft Whisper while Hector Crouch is booked on Stunning Beauty.
Completing the Godolphin line-up in the race is Charlie Appleby’s Wedding Dance to be ridden by William Buick.
“Wedding Dance improved from her first to second run last season, winning nicely at Wolverhampton,” Appleby said of the Invincible Spirit filly.
“The plan was always to bring her out to Dubai afterwards and we have been pleased with the way she has been training out here. She will potentially come forward for this but we feel that she is ready to have a run and should be competitive.”
The seven-card fixture gets underway with the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 for the Arabians.
Heading the eight-runner field is the Fawzi Nass-trained RB Rich Lyke Me, who was an impressive winner of the Group 2 Baniyas on his first start at Meydan.
He has been racing in the United States and his last win under Adrie De Vries took his career record to eight wins in 17 starts.
The Thoroughbred equivalent, the Group 2 $250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1, is the most valuable prize on the night and has drawn 14 runners that includes five from the in-form stables of Bhupat Seemar.
Secret Ambition, now nine and the winner of the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at last year's Dubai World Cup, is the choice of stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea.
Seemar also saddles Avant Garde, third to Secret Ambition in the Godolphin Mile, as well Kafoo, winner of both his starts, and Kimbear.
Doug Watson has a trio with the stable jockey Pat Dobbs electing Midnight Sands, whose six Meydan victories are highlighted by success on Super Saturday last March in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar.
Completing the seven-time UAE champion trainer’s trio are Golden Goal and Thegreatcollection.