The Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting kicks off the busiest month of racing in the country.
Racing returns after a 17-day break with the opening Carnival meeting with a mixed six-race card fare highlighted by the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 for the Purebred Arabians and the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial at Meydan on Thursday.
Godolphin has five runners in the Guineas Trial of which four are trained by Saeed bin Suroor while Charlie Appleby saddles Looktotherainbow, winner of a fillies novice stakes in her last start at Kempton Park in the UK on October.
The Godolphin-bred filly made all to win by more than three lengths in her third attempt following her fourth place on her racecourse debut at Newmarket and her third placed finish at Chelmsford. William Buick is on the saddle on her Meydan debut.
“She has settled in really well and been enjoying the Dubai weather,” Appleby said. “Her work has been good, and she is by Dubawi whose progeny normally go well on the Meydan surface, so hopefully she has a good chance.”
Bin Suroor’s quartet on preference of the cap colours appears to be headed by Final Thought.
The daughter of Sea The Stars broke her maiden tag at Wolverhampton’s all weather in her third attempt and Harry Bentley is booked for the ride.
Soft Whisper with two wins in four starts and with Pat Cosgrave in the saddle and Last Sunset under Hector Crouch are also high on the list.
Challenging the Godolphin are Satish Seemar’s pair Emblem Queen and Al Maroom, Omer Darag’s Deemah and Jumeirah Jane, Salem bin Ghadayer’s Jumeirah Beach and Doug Watson’s Super Chanti, an impressive winner on her racecourse debut.
The Al Maktoum Challenge looks to be a wide-open race and includes last year’s winner RB Money To Burn.
The Eric Lemartinel-trained six-year-old mare has not won in her next three starts since then and have to deal with a wide draw in gate 14 of the 15 runners.
“She is a mare we know likes the conditions, seems in good form at home and we hope is going there with a big chance in a good renewal,” Fabrice Veron, who has ridden her in eight of her nine starts, said.
“Obviously, we would have preferred to be drawn lower, but she normally breaks well and has plenty of speed, so hopefully we can overcome that.”
RB Money To Burn, reappearing for the season, was caught close home by Khalifa Al Neyadi’s Jayide Al Boraq in the Group 2 Baniyas at Meydan in November.
The seven-year-old son of Burning Sand has since run third in the National Day Cup in Abu Dhabi.
That prize went to Ernst Oertel’s AF Alwajel after his third behind Jayide Al Boraq and RB Money To Burn when they clashed at Meydan on their reappearances.
“He is a great horse and a pleasure to be associated with,” Jaydie Al Boraq’s Brazilian jockey Bernardo Pinheiro said.
“He has done nothing wrong, especially on dirt, so we are really looking forward to it, but it is obviously a strong race.”