Charlie Appleby will act as the principal standard-bearer for Godolphin at Meydan’s Super Saturday card as the Marmoom Stables handler has three horses in what is generally known as the dress rehearsal for World Cup night.
Tryster headlines the Group 1 Jebel Hatta after his bloodless victory in the Dubai Millennium Stakes two weeks ago, while Jungle Cat takes his chance in the Meydan Sprint against fellow Godolphin runner Toscanini, trained by Michael Halford in Ireland.
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Blue Creek faces just three rivals in the Listed Al Bastikiya.
Appleby’s team is a marked contrast to that of Saeed bin Suroor, who fields only Haafaguinea in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold. The master of Al Quoz is the most successful trainer at Super Saturday with 24 winners since all seven races were staged on the same day for the first time in 2003.
Watershed, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, will carry the Royal Blue silks in the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge against heavyweights Keen Ice and Mubtaahij.
Tryster proved last time that his freakishly fast turn of foot was as brutal a weapon on turf as it was on synthetic surfaces when he unleashed a closing final 400 metres that proved faster than the sprinters who raced over 1,000 metres on the same night.
Following that performance, Tryster is now the highest-rated horse in the 10-runner field and clashes with Mike de Kock’s quartet of Ertijaal, who returns to turf from dirt, Prayer For Relief, who also switches surfaces, Johann Strauss and Zahee.
Appleby is hopeful of a big run en route to a tilt at the US$6 million (Dh22m) Dubai Turf on March 26.
“If you are a black-and-white form man you might not think that was too impressive but we were very impressed by his final sectionals,” Appleby said.
“He was faster than Sir Maximillian, who is a good sprinter and the race was run at a very pedestrian pace. The world is his oyster now.
“I want to run him in the Jebel Hatta to ensure he gets an invitation to World Cup night.”
Where Tryster’s ability is proven, Appleby is on a fact-finding mission with Jungle Cat and Blue Creek.
Jungle Cat was very impressive on his first start since June last year when he turned a 1,200-metre handicap in to a rout in January. His mettle will be severely tested down at 1,000 metres against Sole Power, the reigning Al Quoz Sprint champion, and Goldream, the King’s Stand Stakes winner.
Blue Creek disappointed many when he was beaten by Active Spirit in a non-Carnival handicap over 1,600 metres, but Appleby’s faith in the son of World Cup winner Street Cry remains undimmed.
Should Blue Creek account for Hombre Rojo, Market Rally and Lazzam, a collision in the UAE Derby with Polar River, who has just two rivals to beat in Thursday’s UAE Oaks, would be on the cards on World Cup night.
“People may raise their eyebrows but I think the step up in trip will suit him,” Appleby said. “He learned a lot last time behind older horses and it is not as if the form hasn’t worked out. Tabaco, who he beat on his first ever start, has gone on and won and Active Spirit, who beat him last time, has also gone on to win.
“I asked him to man up that day and he learned a lot and faced a lot of kickback and ran strongly to the line.
“There are those out there who go on about my record on dirt, but Blue Creek is about the only horse in my stable bred for the surface. If you take out Polar River of the UAE Derby, it looks a very weak section.”
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