x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Conditions to suit Meeznah at Melbourne Cup, says trainer

David Lanigan knows his filly likes firm ground when she competes with Lost In The Moment and Cavalryman, the Godolphin horses, at Flemington Racecourse on November 1.

Saif Ali and Saeed Al Tayer could have a runner in the Melbourne Cup after Meeznah, a filly the pair own together, was unveiled yesterday among a strong entry of UAE-owned horses for the 3,200m contest staged at Flemington Racecourse on November 1.

Trained by David Lanigan, Meeznah has been given an entry alongside Godolphin's Lost In The Moment and Cavalryman.

Also in the line-up could be Fox Hunt, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed and trained by Mark Johnston, who also intends to run Jukebox Jury.

Meeznah is entered in the Group 2 Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster, England, on Thursday, a race in which she finished third last season behind Eastern Aria, who was also owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed at the time.

"I'll have to speak to the owners and see what they want to do," said Lanigan yesterday. "It's more of an idea than a plan, but if we got to Thursday and she has run well at Doncaster it would be a crying shame not to have the race as an option."

Meeznah ran woefully in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury last month when partnered by Frankie Dettori into seventh place. The Italian jockey reported his mount ran flat on her first attempt at racing against colts.

"It was a mystery why she ran so badly," Lanigan continued. "We had the vets go all over her. They scoped her and they checked her blood but they found nothing. I think it was the ground, which was a little loose.

"She's entitled to be in the Melbourne Cup. She'll stay, she likes firm ground and she is tough."

Eastern Aria was transferred to Godolphin after the Park Hill in a bid to improve the Dubai-based operation's record of three seconds and a third from 15 runners in Australia's most famous race.

The mare did not make the cut, which could happen to Fox Hunt, who needs another race to qualify. Serial challengers Luca Cumani and Dermot Weld field multiple entries in a foreign raiding party that totals 25, down considerably from last year's 45 due to the nominations procedure closing a month later this year.

Weld won the US$6.2 million (Dh22.75m) contest with Vintage Crop in 1993 and with Media Puzzle in 2002 and could be represented by Galileo's Choice and Sense of Purpose.

Cumani has finished second twice, notably when Bauer was edged out by a nose in 2008. Bauer is slated for a revenge mission and could feature alongside Manighar, Sahara Sun and Drunken Sailor.


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