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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

Naval Crown leads Godolphin's challenge in Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan

Dubawi colt tackles dirt surface in Dubai for the first time

Naval Crown at the York Racecourse. Getty
Naval Crown at the York Racecourse. Getty

Godolphin sends out Naval Crown in the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas as they look to stretch their record in the race to 11 wins in Week-3 of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan on Thursday.

The Charlie Appleby-trained Dubawi colt has a career victory and was placed third four times, including in two Group 3 races in his juvenile campaign in Europe. He tackles the dirt surface in Dubai for the first time.

“Naval Crown is a solid horse with some good two-year-old form,” Appleby told

“The two question marks are the trip and the surface but he has been training well.

“He ticks a few boxes in that he has shown a good level of form and has plenty of experience, while he has displayed decent gate speed on his runs so far. We are hopeful rather than confident of his chances.”

Conspicuous by its absence is Appleby’s 2000 Guineas Trial winner Rebel’s Romance, who may be heading for the Saudi Derby on February 20.

Challenging Naval Crown are five others; Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s pair Zhou Storm and Grand Dubai, Meshakel from Salem bin Ghadayer’s yard, Doug Watson’s Uncle Hamed and Nicholas Bachalard’s Mouheeb.

Mouheeb went down only by a head to Rebel’s Romance in the Trial and prior to that was an impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Jebel Ali in December.

“He had a very hard race in the trial [three weeks ago], but seems to have come out of that in great shape, so we hope, he has a live chance,” Bachalard said of the American bred Flatter colt.

The Group 3 Firebreak Stakes too has drawn only six runners with the Bin Ghadayer's Matterhorn, the choice of Mickael Barzalona, and Royston Ffrench on board Hypothetical.

Satish Seemar’s Secret Ambition will be hoping to go one better in a race he has finished second in both the two most recent renewals.

Eight-year-old Exceed And Excel has been a model of consistency throughout the majority of his local career and was runner up in the race in the last two years. He was runner up in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile in his last start.

“He is in good form and training well,” assistant trainer Bhupath Seemar said. “The Jebel Ali Mile was only 13 days ago, but he seems to have recovered well.

“Drawn widest of all in six is probably not ideal, but he has run well in this before and never has a bad race. With luck, he is going to at least go close.”

Watson’s Kimbear is an old adversary of Secret Ambition; when the latter won the 2019 Dubai Creek Mile, Watson’s charge chased him home before Kimbear exacted revenge in the 2020 Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1, over the same 1600m.

“He needed that first run, probably more than we realised, but is training very well and seems in great form,” the Red Stables trainer said.

“We have put a visor on him so, being drawn one, I guess we will have to be quite positive and go forward. We are expecting him to run a big race.”

Uruguayan trainer Antonio Cintra Pereira’s Trancaferro makes his debut at Meydan and with a record of five victories, and either second or third seven times in 15 starts, cannot be ignored.

“He is a very nice horse, but this is a strong race over a trip probably short of his optimum,” Pereira said. “He has settled in very well though and should run a nice race.”

Published: February 3, 2021 05:30 PM


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