DUBAI // Herman Brown, the South African trainer, is confident Moon Spun, his UAE 1000 Guineas hope, can overcome a 4.5kg weight penalty as she lines up against Godolphin's Gamilati on Friday.
Seven runners contest Meydan Racecourse's first Classic of the UAE season – a Listed Tapeta mile open only to three-year-old fillies.
As a Southern Hemisphere-bred racehorse, Moon Spun has the advantage of being six months older than any other filly in the race, but must also carry additional weight.
"Obviously she will be carrying a lot more weight than the others but it has been my experience of running Southern Hemisphere horses in Dubai that they generally cope with it quite well," said Brown, who operates his Dubai string from Blue Stables, the yard he shares with his fellow South African, Mike de Kock.
Brown saddled Chocolicious to third place in last season's UAE 1000 Guineas and the trainer feels that Moon Spun is capable of finishing further up the field than her former stablemate.
"I would be more confident with Moon Spun," said Brown, whose charge will go to post under Ryan Moore, the former British champion jockey. "Obviously it's hard to tell where she is exactly because she has only got early two year old form to go on.
"But she has been working very well in the mornings and the surface doesn't seem to trouble her."
Moon Spun had one win from three runs in her native South Africa, with her last run a close-up second in a Group 2 over 1,200m. Arguably still pretty green in her early career, Brown hopes his charge has matured since her last racetrack appearance eight months ago.
"She's a tall rangy filly and she actually travelled over here very well," said the handler, whose horses had to comply with new stricter quarantine rules for South African imports, which saw them spend the equivalent of four months in isolation.
"But we haven't been able to get a race into her because the Guineas Trial took place a few days after we arrived. That means that we've pushed her a bit more in training but all the signs are that she's going very well."
Brown said that Godolphin's representatives, the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Gamilati and Pimpernel command respect.
Gamilati was the winner of Newmarket's Group 2 Cherry Hinton Stakes last July and more recently the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial on January 6.
Pimpernel was a two-length runner-up in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and claimed a Listed race at Newbury on her last outing.
"It's hard to get an exact measure on where Moon Spun is because we don't have any form we can compare to any other runners in the race," said Brown. "But she seems to have grown into herself and we are confident that she will give a good account of herself on Friday."
Also opposing Moon Spun is Marco Botti's Dubai-owned Colorful Notion. The Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Alsindi and the Stan Moore-trained Mary Fildes both have form behind Gamilati in the Guineas Trial. Alsindi crossed almost three lengths behind Godolphin's winner with Mary Fildes trailing by seven lengths.