Godolphin boast 16 runners for opening night of Dubai World Cup Carnival

Dubai racing operation enter horses across five races in seven-card fixture, including 10 from Bin Suroor and six from fellow trainer Appleby

Thunder Snow enters the Dubai World Cup having won the UAE Derby last year. Pawan Singh / The National
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Godolphin are out in force for the first meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday.

The Dubai-based racing operation have 16 runners entered across five races of the seven-card fixture, including 10 from Saeed bin Suroor and six from Charlie Appleby.

Heading Godolphin's list is dual Group 1 winner Thunder Snow contesting the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2.

The bay colt by Helmut returns to Meydan after a summer campaign in Europe, where he was successful in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly in France in six starts.

“Thunder Snow has been doing well out in Dubai,” Bin Suroor was quoted as saying on the Godolphin website.

“We gave him a nice break after his last run in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes [at Ascot], when the ground was very soft.

“He has been working well and it’s a case of 'so far, so good' with him. He has won twice on the dirt at Meydan before. So the return to the surface will be no problem, and he is ready to make his first start of the year.”

Thunder Snow won the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas over the course and distance before capturing the Group 2 UAE Derby over a furlong and a half further last year.

“We will see how he gets on before making any plans for later in the Carnival and Dubai World Cup night,” said Bin Suroor, who is double handed in the race with Confrontation.

“Confrontation was disappointing last year, but he is a nice horse and has been going well in his work.

“He has won over this course and distance [the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes] and we wanted to give him another chance in a Group contest.”

Three horses – North America, Heavy Metal and Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 winner Long River –  are set to provide the main opposition for the Godolphin pair.

Godolphin have entered four horses in the preceding Group 3 Singspiel Stakes, with two each from Bin Suroor and Appleby.

Emotionless, left, will be another Godolphin horse to watch out for. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Emotionless, left, will be another Godolphin horse to watch out for. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

A Godolphin quartet – Appleby’s Emotionless and Bay Of Poets along with Bin Suroor’s Benbatl and Carry On Deryck – should battle it out for the prize.

“We were pleased with Emotionless in the Dubai City Of Gold last year and he summered well in the UK,” Appleby said.

“He has been gelded since his last run and I think he has benefited for it – he was a big unit as a two-year-old and lost his way the following year, but seems to be coming back to himself.

“Nine furlongs is going to be a bit on the short side for him but he will be doing his best work late on, and hopefully this will put him right for the rest of the Carnival.

“Bay Of Poets has been training well. We will try and ride him to come home late and coming back to a sounder surface will help.”

Bin Suroor added that Benbatl looked better physically compared to last season. "This is an interesting starting point for the year and will help us to decide future plans," he added.

“He is a horse who is working well all of the time and nine furlongs should be fine. Carry On Deryck is in good form and goes well fresh.”


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The meeting gets underway with the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 for Purebred Arabians in which Eric Lemartinel has strong claims with Darius Du Paon and RB Torch.

Tadhg O’Shea has opted to ride Darius Du Paon in preference to RB Torch on whom he won the Group 2 Baniyas at Meydan last month.

Barnamaj, an interesting newcomer to the Grandstand Stables of Ali Rashid Al Raihe, should throw the main challenge in a field that has drawn the maximum 16 runners.

Atop Barnamaj is Jim Crowley, the retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.