Dubai World Cup notebook: Surfer suffers poor draw but Dubday could make hay

A quick look around the Meydan Racecourse: Surfer’s draw a wipeout; Kentucky in Derby runners’ sights; Amber Sky’s sprint defence

Godolphin Mile

Satish Seemar’s Surfer had a strong chance of winning the Godolphin Mile before Wednesday’s post-position draw. One of Meydan’s favourite runners, Surfer was then drawn in Gate 16, the widest and least likely position for the winner. This will be Surfer’s 17th race at Dubai’s flagship racecourse and the seventh time he will break from a double-figure starting stall. “Surfer could not be drawn any worse,” Seemar said. “He would be very competitive from a decent draw but it would be just short of a miracle to win from that wide.” Also, 30 members of the Royal Ascot Racing Club have arrived in Dubai to cheer on their recent Wolverhampton winner, Graphic, as he faces his toughest assignment. Club representative Alex Smith said: “He did all his work last week and cantered over the grass track on Thursday, so he was just led out in the stable area on Friday morning. He’s done all the right things and is very relaxed.” Graphic will be tackling dirt for the first time. Smith said: “Although he’s a versatile horse, the surface is the unknown quantity, but we’ve got the best jockey in the world in Ryan Moore, so that’s a huge bonus.”

Dubai Gold Cup

Qatar has strong representation in the Dubai Kahayla Classic, but in the possible absence of Mshawish it is Dubday who could carry their thoroughbred standard today. Dubday was trounced in last season’s Dubai Sheema Classic but normal service has resumed back in Doha where he has racked up three wins, all under Frankie Dettori. “He recently won the Emir’s Trophy again,” said Harry Herbert, Al Shaqab’s racing manager. “He is the horse of the year there, but it is hard to know how that form stacks up.” Premier League football fans will take note that former England striker Michael Owen’s Brown Panther lines up as the highest-rated horse to take part in the marathon event’s history.

UAE Derby

Godolphin’s Maftool and Mike De Kock’s Mubtaahij continue on their road towards the Kentucky Derby when they face each other in the UAE Derby. Maftool drew first blood when he beat Mubtaahij in the UAE 2000 Guineas, but then missed the Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday when his rival held off Uruguayan Triple Crown winner Sir Fever. Both are entered for the Run For the Roses in Churchill Downs in May, and tonight’s race will go some way to deciding whether they make the trip. Sir Fever will have benefited from that run, but the Japanese could pose a major threat with the presence of Golden Barows.

Al Quoz Sprint

Amber Sky lowered the course record when he won the Al Quoz Sprint 12 months ago and the Hong Kong raider is back for more. Amber Sky is one of two horses, along with World Cup winner African Story, who are defending their crown. But whereas African Story has been brought to perfect pitch by Saeed bin Suroor, Amber Sky has had a troubled preparation. “He has had an ongoing problem with a cyst on his left hind leg,” trainer Ricky Yiu said. “When he comes out of his box in the morning he is a bit stiff at first but he loosens up quickly and he is fine.”

Dubai Golden Shaheen

Hong Kong is not known for its dirt sprinters but the Special Administrative Region appears to have a strong hand in the Dubai Golden Shaheen tonight. Last year’s runner-up, Rich Tapestry, the well-regarded Lucky Nine and Super Jockey will bid in a race that looks tailor-made for the Americans. Rich Tapestry had a difficult trip to the UAE, but trainer Michael Chang reports all is well. “He had a bit of a stomach problem, but everything is back to normal now,” he said yesterday. “This track is similar to Santa Anita, where he won a Grade 1 late last year. My level of confidence right now out of 10 would be a seven or eight.” Also, Krypton Factor, the 2013 winner, galloped at Meydan on Monday and trainer Fawzi Nass said yesterday: “He has had a quiet week since then, walking and trotting. He is fit, well and on course for tomorrow.”

Published: March 27, 2015 04:00 AM

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