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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Godolphin bid for 10th UAE 2000 Guineas title at Meydan

Charlie Appleby enters Gold Town and Last Voyage, while Saeed bin Suroor saddles Racing Country in the Group 3 1,600m race

Gold Town after winning the UAE 2000 Guineas trial race in January at Meydan Racecourse. He will attempt to become the 10th Godolphin winner of the Classic at Thursday's Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting. Antonie Robertson / The National
Gold Town after winning the UAE 2000 Guineas trial race in January at Meydan Racecourse. He will attempt to become the 10th Godolphin winner of the Classic at Thursday's Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting. Antonie Robertson / The National

Godolphin head into Thursday's latest meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival with designs on winning a race they have come to make their own down the years.

The Dubai racing operation have three horses entered in the UAE 2000 Guineas, a race won by the Royal Blue silks nine times previously.

Gold Town, the gelded son of the 2002 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, is one of the two horses trained by Charlie Appleby entered in the Group 3 race over 1,600 metres.

The winner of the trial for the Classic is joined by Last Voyage, who will be making his local debut. The other Godolphin horse, Racing Country, is saddled by Saeed bin Suroor.

Gold Town caught everyone’s eye on his first local start and first on the dirt when winning by more than four lengths from Roland Rocks in one of the two trials for the Classic three weeks ago.

Racing Country went down to El Chapo by half-a-length at the same meeting in the second trial but the Dubawi colt was subsequently unplaced on the turf at Meydan on February 8.

Appleby is hopeful of Gold Town’s chances as the trainer bid’s for a second Classic title after Long John's victory under Mickael Barzalona in 2014.

“We were impressed with Gold Town’s first appearance on dirt in the trial,” Appleby told the Godolphin website.

“I am hopeful that the step up to a mile will suit. A repeat performance of his last run will see him take all the beating.”

Appleby also expects a good run from Last Voyage, who arrives with decent form from his travails in Europe.

“He should be fine on the dirt based on his pedigree and his preparation has gone well. This is his first try over a mile, which we feel should suit him,” he added.

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William Buick, who rode Gold Town, on his debut win at Newbury in England in April 2017 and in his most recent start at Meydan, is atop in Godolphin’s first colours. Barzalona rides Last Voyage.

Bin Suroor is expecting Racing Country to bounce back on his return to the dirt and the longer trip.

“He was disappointing on the turf last time, but he is back on the dirt now and ran well on the surface in the trial for this race. I think a mile will be right him and he is in good form,” said the Emirati trainer.

The race has drawn 15 runners and the main challenge for the Godolphin trio is likely to come from the Bahraini trainer Fawzi Nass’ El Chapo under Luke Morris.

El Chapo comes into the race having won his last three races including one of the trials ahead of Racing Country in his last start.

The Ahmad bin Harmash-trained Daffg under the British champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa has improved with every run and could spring a surprise. The Discreet Cat colt was third on his racecourse debut behind Circle Dream, second behind Mazeed in the next start before winning from Wasim in his last race.

Godolphin has a strong presence on the rest of the seven-race card with Bin Suroor saddling seven runners across four handicaps.

Best Solution under Pat Cosgrave is set to renew his rivalry with Golden Wood, the winner over him in the last start. Memorial Day with Gerald Mosse atop is Bin Suroor’s other runner in the third race, a Handicap over 2,000m. Don’t Give Up with Christophe Soumillon on board and Alabaster under Oisin Murphy will also line up.

Bin Suroor will be hoping for a better run from Kananee under Soumillon after being well-beaten when returning to racing after a 15-month lay-off. He runs in the fourth race in which Jordan Sport and Danzeno look the dangers.

Natural Scenery and Red Galileo complete the Godolphin runners in the fifth race.

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RACECARD:

6.30pm: Mazrat Al Ruwayah (PA); Group 2; US$50,000; 1,600m.

7.05pm: Handicap (rated 95+); $160,000; 2,435m.

7.40pm: Handicap (95-110); $125,000; 2,000m.

8.15pm: Handicap (95-105); $125,000; 1,200m.

8.50pm: UAE 2000 Guineas Group 3; $250,000; 1,600m.

9.25pm: Handicap (95+); $160,000 3,200m.

10pm: Handicap (95-108); $125,000 1,600m.