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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 February 2019

Godolphin mount four-horse attack for UAE 1000 Guineas at Meydan Racecourse

Trainers Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby to saddle two runners each for season's first Classic

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is double-handed for the UAE 1000 Guineas on Thursday. William West / AFP
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is double-handed for the UAE 1000 Guineas on Thursday. William West / AFP

Godolphin have a strong presence in the UAE 1000 Guineas when Week 5 of the Dubai World Cup Carnival gets under way at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday.

The royal blue silks have won the prize 10 times since the race - the first Classic of the season - was first staged in 2001. There is a good chance they will add to that as both their trainers, Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby, will send out two runners each.

Bin Suroor is the most successful handler in the race's history, having won it 10 times, eight of which were in the Godolphin silks.

Appleby has yet to take home the prize but that can change with his exciting Divine Image, winner of her only start by six lengths on the Polytrack at Chelmsford in the United Kingdom in December.

“Divine Image was impressive at Chelmsford City on her debut, when she did everything the right way round,” Appleby told Godolphin.com.

“This will be her first start on dirt and we are mindful that a potential lack of experience could count against her, but she showed a good level of ability on her only start.”

The Guineas will provide Appleby an opportunity to see how the Scat Daddy filly will handle the dirt surface at Meydan before entering her in the UAE Oaks on February 21.

“Stepping up to the extended nine furlongs of the UAE Oaks has always been our main aim, and she will improve when she goes up in distance,” added the Englishman, who also saddles Lover’s Knot in the race.

“Lover’s Knot won at Newmarket in July and was just slightly weak as a two-year-old, so we decided to give her time to develop rather than run her in Group races at the end of the UK season.

“Her homework has been progressive and she has plenty of gate speed, so I hope that we can use it to our advantage around Meydan.”

William Buick rides Divine Image and James Doyle gets Lover’s Knot.

Bin Suroor enters Dubai Beauty, ridden by Christophe Soumillon, and Swift Rose with Kevin Stott atop, as they both return to the track with a run each under their belts.

Dubai Beauty made a winning racecourse debut at Newmarket but subsequently unplaced in a Group 2 at Doncaster and the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp. She was disappointing when finishing last of the 14 in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial over the 1,400-metre distance on January 3.

“Both Dubai Beauty and Swift Rose were disappointing in the trial for this contest, but came out of the race in good order,” Bin Suroor said. “The step up to 1,600m should suit them and I am looking for a better result this time.”

The one that the Godolphin runners will have to fear most is Al Hayette, winner of her last two starts including the Guineas Trial. However, the Ismail Mohammed-trained Union Rags filly has to deal with a poor draw, widest of the 15 runners.

The other feature race on the seven-card is the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint in which Godolphin do not have any entries. Switzerland, a horse trained by Steve Asmussen in the United States and ridden by three-time British champion jockey Ryan Moore, heads the six-runner field.

Updated: January 31, 2019 09:21 AM

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