Godolphin's show of strength for first Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting
Dubai-based racing operation enters 16 runners ahead of Thursday's card at Meydan Racecourse following successful 2018
Buoyed by their success in 2018, Godolphin have entered 16 horses for the first Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday.
The Dubai-based racing operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, racked up a record 30 Group 1 prizes globally and reached the 5,000-winner milestone last year.
They fulfilled a long-held ambition of winning the Epsom Derby when trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick guided Masar to victory in the Royal Blue silks. Cross Counter’s triumph in the Melbourne Cup after 30 years of trying was another first.
Who can also forget how Thunder Snow, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, stormed to victory in the Dubai World Cup.
Godolphin have already begun their 2019 campaign with victories for Etymology and Tin Hat over back-to-back days in Australia, and Meydan is likely to provide more winners this week given their show of strength ahead of the first of 10 Carnival meetings.
They have six runners in the fifth race alone - the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes - with three horses saddled by Bin Suroor and Appleby each.
On the jockey bookings and the cap colours, Dream Castle with Soumillon atop appears to be heading the challenge.
The Frankel gelding has not raced after his four starts in the Carnival season. His best effort was a third-place finish behind Jungle Cat, another Godolphin runner, over the sprint distance of 1,200 metres.
Dream Castle is tackling the 1,800m distance for the first time and his biggest challenge may come from the Appleby-trained Key Victory under James Doyle. That being said, any of Godolphin's runners is capable of victory.
But they are likely to be wary of Deauville, winner of the 2016 Group 1 Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes who has placed in some of the top turf races in the world, including the Arlington Million, Irish Champion Stakes and Queen Anne Stakes.
The six year old by Galileo is rated the highest - at 115 - in the 16-runner field for new owners.
“He is an exciting acquisition and we are delighted to have him,” Deauville's trainer Fawzi Nass said of the purchase out of the Ballydoyle Stables. “He is going to benefit for the run, but we hope he is going to have a good Carnival.”
Meanwhile, Bin Suroor said all three of his runners can challenge for the prize.
“They are all very well and in good form at home, but will certainly improve for the run,” the Emirati said.
“Dream Castle is a horse we have always really liked, but has disappointed us at times. He has had a nice break and we are hopeful of a big run.
“Racing History is a really nice horse, but we have only been able to run him once in each of the last two years. He has been showing up nicely at home, as has Team Talk, who worked well the other day.”
Appleby has similar thoughts about his runners. “To be honest, regarding their chances, I could probably throw a blanket over them,” he said.
“In that big field, luck in running is going to be important. Hopefully, at least one of them enjoys some.”
Updated: January 3, 2019 08:59 AM