NEWBURY, England// It has been a long time coming but Dubai Prince will finally race in the Royal Blue colours of Godolphin tomorrow when the former Classic hopeful makes his belated seasonal bow at Newbury.
In January, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, sent Dubai Prince to Mahmood Al Zarooni from the stable of Dermot Weld where the colt had been running in his owner's maroon and white colours. The intention was that he was to be trained for a campaign in Europe at the highest level, beginning with the English 2,000 Guineas, with a possible tilt at the Derby afterwards.
In April, the son of Shamardal suffered a hairline fracture to his ilial wing in his pelvis just days before another of Godolphin's headline horses, White Moonstone, also broke down.
He later suffered a training setback. But after months of hard work at Al Zarooni's Moulton Paddocks stables, Dubai Prince lines up in the Dubai Duty Free Conditions Stakes against five other rivals.
"He's ready to race after a setback ruled him out," Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said. "A lot of water has passed under the bridge since he was mentioned as a Derby possible, but we'll see how he gets on. He's a good horse and this is a good opportunity for him."
Casamento arrived at Al Zarooni's Newmarket stables at the same time as Dubai Prince and Al Zarooni has found an opportunity to try his disappointing charge over 2,000m in the Prix du Prince d'Orange at Longchamp on Saturday.
Having won the Racing Post Trophy last season from Seville, the subsequent dual-Group 1 runner-up, and Master of Hounds, the UAE Derby runner-up, there were high hopes for Casamento before he fluffed his lines in the 2,000 Guineas behind Frankel.
Frankie Dettori gave Casamento little chance when he tried to pursue the world's best miler early on in the first English Classic of the season, and he looked to have suffered for his exertions when he trailed in ninth behind Reliable Man and Bubble Chic, who re-opposes today, at Chantilly, a month later in the French Derby.
"He was disappointing in the Prix du Jockey Club," said Crisford. "He chased the pace and got tired. It was the same when he ran behind Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas. He needs to get his act together now."
The performance of Bubble Chic will provide a strong indicator to the merits of Reliable Man, who is among the favourites for next month's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in which Aidan O'Brien's Irish Champion Stakes winner, So You Think, will now run.
"He [So You Think] is in great form and all being well with him, the plan is to run in the Arc given reasonable ground conditions," the Irishman said yesterday.