Godolphin ready to strike again with entries across four races at Meydan

Appleby’s pair With The Moonlight and Tranquil Lady spearhead the Royal Blues in the Balanchine

With The Moonlight, ridden by jockey William Buick, is the horse to beat in the Group 2 Balanchine at Meydan. PA
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Godolphin are out to replicate last week’s Dubai World Cup Carnival success when they line up 12 horses at Friday's meet at Meydan.

The Royal Blues have again assembled a strong line-up across four races, including the Group 2 Balanchine, the feature event of the seven-race card.

They are strongly represented in the 1,800-metre turf race for fillies and mares by Charlie Appleby’s pair With The Moonlight and Tranquil Lady.

Godolphin have won the Balanchine seven times in the past 10 years.

With The Moonlight, under William Buick, was an impressive winner of the Group 2 Cape Verdi, run over the 1,600m turf trip on her Meydan debut three weeks ago, and she appears the one to beat in this eight-runner field.

“With The Moonlight has come forward since the Cape Verdi and the step back up in distance is going to suit,” Appleby said of the four-year-old Frankel filly.

“She has a penalty to carry [for winning the Cape Verdi] but is clear on ratings and has already won at the track this season. She looks the one they all have to beat.”

Appleby also unleashes an exciting new recruit in the shape of Tranquil Lady, a dual Group 3 heroine and almost 20 lengths ahead of her new stable companion when the pair clashed in the Oaks at Epsom last June.

Formerly trained by Joseph O’Brien, the four-year-old daughter of Australia, looks a fine addition to the powerful Appleby team. James Doyle is in the saddle.

“Tranquil Lady has enjoyed a nice preparation and we are very pleased with her,” Appleby added.

“This will be her first start for us, so we are on a slight learning curve, but we are confident that she will run a nice race. We will potentially see her at her best over further and this will be our first opportunity to get a handle on her ahead of the forthcoming season.”

It would be a major surprise were any of the remaining six runners able to deny one of Appleby’s duo.

Godolphin are also double-handed in the inaugural Jumeirah Fillies Guineas, a 1,600m conditions contest.

Saeed bin Suroor sends out Mawj, winner of the 1,400m Jumeirah Fillies Classic by a nose. She is speedy so needs to prove her stamina over this extra 200m but she certainly has a touch of class.

“Mawj came out of the Jumeirah Fillies Classic well,” Bin Suroor said of the three-year-old by Exceed And Excel.

“Racing over a mile will be a new experience for her – she has plenty of speed in her races but we wanted to give her the chance to see if she can stay this trip.

“She worked nicely on Monday and looks ready to go again. It would be very good if she can get the mile, especially with future targets in mind.”

Bin Suroor’s filly probably has most to fear from Appleby’s local debutante Fairy Cross, a homebred daughter of Dubawi not seen in public since landing Goodwood’s Group 3 Prestige Fillies Stakes at the end of August.

She was, however, well held by Mawj on their respective debuts, the Bin Suroor filly beginning her career with victory over 1,200m on the Newmarket Rowley Mile.

“Fairy Cross has physically done well out in Dubai,” Appleby said. “This was an opportunity to get a run into her out here and she will definitely come on for the outing.

“We are hoping that she will have a busy campaign after this, so it’s a day out before heading back to Europe.”


6pm: Al Karama Stakes – Conditions (TB) $60,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

6.35pm: Defender 90 – Handicap (TB) $75,000 (D) 1,200m

7.10pm: Defender 110 – Handicap (TB) $75,000 (Turf) 1,400m

7.45pm: Jumeirah Fillies Guineas – Conditions (TB) $150,000 (T) 1,600m

8.20pm: Balanchine – Group 2 (TB) $180,000 (T) 1,800m

8.55pm: Jumeirah Derby– Conditions (TB) $200,000 (T) 2,000m

9.30pm: Defender 75th Limited Edition – Handicap (TB) $75,000 (D) 1,600m

The National selections:

6pm: Sharp Army

6.35pm: King Gold

7.10pm: Silent Film

7.45pm: Fairy Cross

8.20pm: With The Moonlight

8.55pm: One Nation

9.30pm: Stormy Ocean

Updated: February 24, 2023, 6:34 AM