Mike de Kock’s Ajwad and Mubtaahij feature among 13 entries for the UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial at Meydan on Thursday.
The Guineas Trial, which is worth US$75,000 (Dh275,486) and run over 1,400 metres, is to be staged on dirt for the first time since 2009.
The South African trainer said last week following the opening Dubai World Cup Carnival fixture at Meydan Racecourse that he would change strategy and run nearly all of his horses on Meydan’s turf track in preference to the dirt surface due to a perceived pace bias that favours front-runners.
He later clarified via a leading American racing website that his comments did not include his three-year-old horses.
Mubtaahij could bid to follow up his victory at Meydan on New Year’s Eve, while Ajwad, also owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, looks to be an exciting Argentine-bred horse that De Kock believes will act on the surface.
“He is a half-brother to Asiatic Boy, who won me a UAE Derby among a host of wins at Nad Al Sheba, as they are both by Not For Sale from Argentina,” the trainer said.
“He is quite a nice type and I am expecting him to go really well on the dirt.”
Four winners of the UAE 2,000 Guineas, which takes place on February 12, were bred in Argentina. Little Jim was the pathfinder in 2004, while Gold For Sale, also by Not For Sale, won in 2006, followed by Asiatic Boy 12 months later. Honour Devil also won for De Kock in 2008.
Other notable entries in the 2,000 Guineas Trial include Godolphin’s American-bred Maftool, the highest-rated runner, who is trained by Saeed Bin Suroor.
Elsewhere, the past two winners of the Dubai Stakes have been entered in the Listed feature on the seven-race card.
Satish Seemar’s 2013 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Reynaldothewizard heads the lists. United Colour, who beat another potential runner, Russian Soul, by a neck last year, may take his chance for Dhruba Selvaratnam.
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