Godolphin are out in force for the opening Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting with 14 of their horses vying for four of the six prizes that will be up for grabs at the Meydan racecourse on Thursday.
Saeed bin Suroor sends out 11 of those runners while Charlie Appleby the remaining three for the royal blues to launch their Carnival and New Year campaigns.
They set the ball rolling in the opening race of the card – the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial.
Bin Suroor has a trio entered in the Conditions race for three-year-old fillies with his first choice jockey Christophe Soumillon electing to ride Final Song.
Harry Bentley is on board Good Reason and Patrick Cosgrave is on Dubai Love. James Doyle rides Appleby’s Silent Wave who has to deal with the widest draw from gate 16.
“The Carnival provides us the opportunity to test some of horses while wintering them in Dubai,” Bin Suroor said.
“It is also a good way to keep our horses competitive for the races in Britain and elsewhere in the world.
“The Carnival races are hard to win because of the quality of horses that are sent to compete at these meetings. Then there are those locally-trained horses that improve over time.
“We have a group of good three-year-olds. We have entered some of the fillies in the 1000 Guineas Trial and we’ll have some of the colts in next week’s 2000 Guineas Trial.
“We’ll see how they fare on the dirt as most of the classics here are run on this surface at Meydan.”
Bin Suroor has won the Carnival trainer’s titles a record nine times since the Carnival was established in 2004.
He is the all-time leading Carnival trainer with 232 winners with his closest challenger Mike de Kock of South Africa on 150.
Bin Suroor has three entries in the third race, a dirt handicap for horses rated 90 and above.
Spearheading the trio is Dubai Icon, winner of his last three races from his four career starts. Rowan Scott is booked on the New Approach colt. Piece Of History (Ryan Powell) and Sendeed (Antonio Fresu) are the other two.
The Emirati trainer is double handed in the fourth race – the Meydan Challenge, a Listed turf handicap – with Dubai Legacy and Major Partnership.
An interesting entry in the race is David O’Meara’s Suedois, a nine-year-old gelding by Le Havre with a career record of nine wins, 10 second-place finishes and 12 third-place results in 47 starts.
A mainstay in top-level turf races on multiple continents, Suedois will try his luck in the UAE.
Bin Suroor accounts for three of the five entries in the concluding Dubai Racing Club Classic, another Listed turf handicap, in which Appleby has Lucius Tiberus and Zaman.
The royal blues don't feature in the Group Three Dubai Stakes, the fifth race, in which both Satish Seemar and Doug Watson are double handed.
Seemar is upbeat about both Lava Spin and the newly-acquired Gladiator King challenging for the $200,000 (Dh734,000) race.
Watson’s challenge is spearheaded by Drafted, runner up to Seemar’s Raven’s Corner in the race 12 months ago.
The Field Commission gelding won his next two starts, both Group Threes, before finishing a creditable fifth in the Group One Dubai Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup night.
Musabah Al Muhairi’s recent winner Ibn Malek and Frenchman Maxim Guyon’s Tour De Paris, winner of 11 of his 14 starts, come into consideration.
Completing the lineup are Watson’s second entry Waady, Salem bin Ghadayer’s Neverland Rock, Ahmad bin Harmash’s Walking Thunder and Bahraini Fawzi Nass’ Nine Below Zero.
Meanwhile, the management of the Jebel Ali racecourse announced that racing will resume at the venue from on January 24 after three meetings were cancelled due to the work on the racetrack.