Ottoman Fleet spearheads Godolphin challenge in Al Rashidiya Stakes

Royal Blues are well represented in the second week of Dubai World Cup Carnival

Jockey William Buick atop Ottoman Fleet before the King Edward Vii Stakes during day four of Royal Ascot last year. PA
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Godolphin is out in numbers with 15 runners across four races in the all-thoroughbred seven-race card of the second weekend of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan on Friday.

The highlight of the meeting is the Group 2 Al Rashidiya run over the 1,800-metre trip on turf and in which Godolphin trainers Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby have entered two runners each in a field of 11.

Bin Suroor runs Dubai Future, winner of the Group 3 Bahrain International Trophy in November, under Danny Tudhope, and Passion And Glory who chased him home in that 2000m feature.

Both are running for the first time since, with the former seeking a fourth carnival success having scored once at each of the last three carnivals, twice over 2400m, once at 2800m.

“Dubai Future ran some very good races last year, including winning the Bahrain International Trophy on his latest start,” Bin Suroor said of the seven-year-old Dubawi gelding.

“He came out of that race well and I have been pleased with his work going into this. Dropping down to nine furlongs should be fine and I am looking forward to another good result.”

Meanwhile, as was the case in Bahrain, Pat Cosgrave partners Passion And Glory, competing at his third consecutive carnival and seeking a first Meydan victory at the sixth attempt.

“Passion And Glory was runner-up in Bahrain and is a horse who always tries hard in his races,” Bin Suroor said.

“He looks to be in good condition and has been working well, so I am hopeful of a good run.”

Appleby has claimed the Al Rashidiya twice, combining with William Buick on both occasions and they team up with Ottoman Fleet on this occasion, a four-year-old Sea The Stars gelding who has won twice from just six starts.

“Ottoman Fleet comes into this on the back of a nice Listed win at Newmarket and ran well over this distance when runner-up in the Group 3 Darley Stakes earlier in the autumn. His preparation has gone well and he should be very competitive,” Appleby said.

Buick’s mount is making his Meydan debut but Appleby also saddles Valiant Prince, the mount of James Doyle whose carnival treble last week included a double for Appleby.

The five-year-old Dubawi gelding is actually defending an unbeaten Meydan record having landed a pair of 1600m turf handicaps last year, the second at the carnival.

He too arrives on the back of a Listed victory in the UK. He and Doyle scored over 1600m at York, defeating stablemate Art Du Val.

“Valiant Prince has some solid form over a mile and we feel that the step up to nine furlongs will hopefully see further improvement at this stage of his career. If he sees the trip out well, it will open up a few more options,” Appleby added.

Challenging the Godolphin quartet is Doug Watson-trained San Donato, in the silks of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid and who made a victorious start to his UAE career in the Listed National Day Cup in Abu Dhabi. Stable jockey Pat Dobbs is atop the Lope de Vega gelding.

“I think he had been injured so only arrived really late last season and was a real tricky horse to train,” Watson said.

“Oscar Chavez has been riding him at home this year and has really sweetened him up.

“That was an exciting performance at Abu Dhabi, the way he quickened. Obviously it is a tough race taking on Godolphin but we are hopeful he can at least be competitive in a strong heat.”

Completing the line-up are the European challengers Michael O'Callaghan’s Fastnet Crown, David Marne’s Freescape, Niels Petersen’s King David and Yann Barberot’s Zagrey along with local runners Ursa Minor and Wirko.

Racecard

6pm: Azizi Mina – Handicap (TB) $75,000 (Dirt) 1,600m

6.35pm: Al Wasl Stakes – Conditions (TB) $80,000 (Turf) 1,200m

7.10pm: UAE 2000 Guineas Trial – Conditions (TB) $60,000 (D) 1,400m

7.45pm: Ipi Tombi Stakes – Conditions (TB) $150,000 (T) 1,400m

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

8.55pm: Thunder Snow Challenge – Conditions (TB) $150,000 (D) 2,000m

9.30pm: Azizi Riviera – Handicap (TB) $75,000 (T) 1,600m

The National selections

6pm: Quality Boone

6.35pm: Princeville

7.10pm: Tiger Nation

7.45pm: Wild Beauty

8.20pm: Ottoman Fleet

8.55pm: First Constitution

9.30pm: Echo Point

Updated: January 13, 2023, 4:00 AM