x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Godolphin to give Monterosso a run in Al Maktoum Challenge Round Three

The five year old has not run since finishing behind Victoire Pisa at the Dubai World Cup in March.

Monterosso has been away from the racetrack since finishing third in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan last year. Sean Dempsey / PA
Monterosso has been away from the racetrack since finishing third in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan last year. Sean Dempsey / PA

Monterosso will line up for his first racecourse start in 12 months after Godolphin entered last year's Dubai World Cup third in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.

The five year old has not run since finishing behind Victoire Pisa in the world's richest race last March and Mahmoud Al Zarooni, the trainer, has also entered Shimraan, Capponi and Biondetti in the US$400,000 (Dh1,469,240 million) contest.

Fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor could also run four, with Rio De La Plata, Prince Bishop, Mendip and Spring Of Fame forming part of Godolphin's 31 entries across the card, known colloquially as Super Saturday.

Alongside the Jebel Hatta, round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge has been upgraded this year to Group 1 status, the first races to be run at the highest level in the UAE outside Dubai World Cup night.

At 2,000 metres the Al Maktoum Challenge is generally regarded as a prep race for the Dubai World Cup, on March 31, while a run in the 1,800-metre Jebel Hatta has proved a springboard to success in the past in the Dubai Duty Free, which is staged over the same distance also on World Cup night.

Presvis could only finish third to Wigmore Hall in last year's Jebel Hatta but beat that horse into third in the Dubai Duty Free and both will renew their rivalry in Saturday's $300,000 race.

In all there are eight races at Meydan, with purses totalling $1.8m and a race set aside for Purebred Arabians that is also called the Al Maktoum Challenge III. Ernst Oertel has entered two horses in the colours of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE, with last year's Kahayla Classic winner Seraphin Du Paon and Fryvolous, who won the same race in 2009, set to face a maximum of 12 other rivals.

sports@thenational.ae