Connections will be hoping to uncover some promising Dubai World Cup Carnival prospects when racing makes a quick return to Meydan on Sunday, January 23, for a domestic fixture sponsored by long-time Dubai Racing Club Pillar Partner, Emirates Airline.
The seven-race card, which comes hot on the heels of Friday’s action-filled Carnival fixture, is highlighted by the Emirates Airline Handicap, a 1600 metre contest on turf, which has attracted some high-class horses.
Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby, who scored a double two nights ago, once again looks to have serious claims with Valiant Prince (William Buick) who is heading the international markets.
The gelded four-year-old son of prolific Godolphin stallion Dubawi was last seen winning a novice race by a margin of nine lengths last September on Chelmsford’s Polytrack. A reproduction of that effort should see him take a lot of beating, although he does have a wide draw in 15 to overcome.
Assessing Valiant Prince’s chances, Appleby said: “We like him and hope he is still improving. He is in good order at home and this looks an ideal chance to find out where we stand with him regarding the Carnival.”
Other hopefuls in the race include the Doug Watson-trained pair of Aquaman (Andrea Atzeni) and Mcmanaman (Pat Dobbs) and Nicholas Bachalard’s Abu Dhabi sixth Country (Richard Mullen).
Zabeel Stables’ crack pairing of Bhupat Seemar and Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea team up with UAE debutant Royal News, a lightly-raced French-bred who was an impressive six and a half-length winner of his maiden at Chelmsford two seasons ago when previously trained by Gosden.
In a full field of 16 runners, some international flavour is added by South African raider Magical Land (Ronald Woodworth), who was an unlucky runner-up on his first UAE start earlier this month, and Simon Crisford’s 2020 Meydan victor Franz Kafka (James Doyle), who will need to overcome a 696-day sabbatical if he hopes to make an impression en-route to the Carnival.