x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

No luck in draw for Sooraah, while Alpha is out for Derby credentials

Trainer William Haggas says the Emirati-owned horse will once more have a longer way to travel to get to the winner's circle by drawing the 11th stall for the Fillies' Stakes at Kempton.

Sooraah will seek victory at Kempton in the Fillies' Stakes breaking from the 11th stall, a prospect trainer William Haggas is not happy about.
Sooraah will seek victory at Kempton in the Fillies' Stakes breaking from the 11th stall, a prospect trainer William Haggas is not happy about.

William Haggas said the Emirati-owned Sooraah will not be done any favours by her outside draw in Saturday's Fillies' Stakes at Kempton.

The highest-rated performer in the field for the Listed race must break from the 11th stall under Ryan Moore.

A solid performer at this level last season, Sooraah already has had a busy year with three runs in Dubai, including a victory in a handicap at Meydan in February.

On her return to the British scene, she was fifth when stepping up to 10 furlongs in the Winter Derby, and drops back to a mile here.

"I'm very happy with her, but I'm not very happy with the draw," Haggas said of the horse owned by Mohammed Jaber.

"She got held up in a slowly run race last time.

"It's not ideal from the draw here but she comes into the race in good order and hopefully will run well."

Sooraah's chief opponent looks to be the Marco Botti-trained Law Of The Range, who rose quickly through the ranks last season.

"She is in good order and she did very well for us last year, winning three times, including a Listed race, and she was then third in a Group 3," Botti said.

"She is fit enough, but we never like to have our horses 100 per cent for their first run of the year, so she will improve on whatever she does.

"She has put weight on during the winter and I think she is a stronger mare now.

"She has a good draw and should handle the all-weather no problems, so I hope she has a good chance."

John Gosden's Eastern Sun has the chance to make his entry in the Qipco 2000 Guineas look a little more realistic in the Betfred Conditions Stakes at Kempton today.

Gosden's key Classic candidate at this stage is Fencing, who is bound for the Craven Stakes at Newmarket.

But he is also considering Eastern Sun, jointly owned by Saudi Arabia's Prince AA Faisal, who is given a reasonable opening task with just five rivals over a mile of the Polytrack.

A winner of his debut at Newbury in June, Eastern Sun, a colt by Kodiak, had just one other start and finished third behind Talwar in a tactical and soft-ground Solario Stakes.

"He ran in the Solario and he didn't come out of the race as well as I would like, so we're just feeling our way back with him," Gosden said.

"He has the Guineas entry and is starting off over a mile, but I think he'll go a mile-and-a-quarter in the end."

Brian Meehan's Mehdi is very experienced; the three year old ran with great credit in many of the big juvenile sales races.

He already has been in action in Dubai, finishing a close third in the UAE 2000 Guineas.

Richard Hannon is doubly represented by Lord Of the Shadows and Red Seventy, a respective first and fourth in a conditions event at Newmarket last October.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Leqqaa, who placed second in the same race, is also in the line-up.



In the United States, Godolphin, the Dubai World Cup winners, will send out Alpha in search of his first Grade 1 win Saturday at Aqueduct and assess his credentials for the Kentucky Derby, the biggest race in the US.

The three-year-old Bernardini colt, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, lines up in the Memorial Stakes over nine furlongs on dirt in the US.

Alpha has enjoyed success at the New York track, winning the Count Fleet Stakes over a mile and 70 yards by two-and-a-half lengths in January.

It was similar story on Alpha's other start this year, a three-and-a-quarter-length success in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes in February.

Ramon Dominguez will ride Alpha for the third time in succession against seven rivals, including the unbeaten Gemologist.

"This is a big test for Alpha and hopefully he can move on to May 5," McLaughlin said, referring to the day when the 138th Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

"He has won his last two starts from an outside post position and then going wide.

"He is drawn one on the inside. This means he will be in the stalls the longest and that has been a problem in the past but hopefully no more.

"He also has to take kickback but will save ground. I view the post position as a positive.

"He has been training great and I am looking forward to a good run."

Meanwhile, Godolphin have entered Mandaean and Swedish Sailor, both saddled by the World Cup-winning trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni, in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh, Ireland, in June.

Discourse and Lyric Of Light, two other horses in the operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, are in the entries for the Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh next month.




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