Dubai: Godolphin’s Gold Town can throw down a convincing marker for next month’s $2 million UAE Derby (G2) by winning Thursday’s UAE 2,000 Guineas, a race that has been a reliable pointer to the richest Derby in the world.
The son of 2002 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry has won his two last starts, in Newmarket, England (Aug 12) and Meydan (Jan 25), in compelling fashion, and will take all the beating in a race that has attracted a field of 15 runners.
Trainer Charlie Appleby will have history on his side as Godolphin have won nine runnings of the contest since it made its debut in 2000 at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.
Appleby, who himself has savoured Guineas success with Long John in 2014, $335,000 purchase at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale.
Godolphin’s William Buick resumes his association with Gold Town while the stable’s France-based rider, Mickael Barzalona, partners Last Voyage, whose only success came on his debut at Windsor in May last year.
Assessing his par, Appleby told the Godolphin website: “We were impressed with Gold Town’s first appearance on dirt in the trial and 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.
“Last Voyage won on his first start and brings a decent level of European form to the table. 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.”
Appleby’s Godolphin workmate, Saeed Bin Surour, who has taken home the trophy on six occasions and most recently with Thunder Snow 12 months, is also represented with Racing Country, a runner-up to El Chapo in the second division of the 2,000 Guineas Trial three weeks ago.
The trainer said: “Racing Country 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 for him and he is in good form.”
The field of 15 also includes El Chapo, plus Roland Rocks and Roy Orbison, who were second and third behind Gold Town last time out and champion trainer Doug Watson’s Blue Laureate, fifth behind Gold Town.
Bin Surour, who has his stable in rude health with 11 wins in six Dubai World Cup Carnival meetings, has strong chances elsewhere on the seven-race card, supported by Al Tayer Motors.
Perhaps the best of these is Best Solution, who can reverse the form on French raider Golden Wood, who benefited from a compelling ride from Christophe Soumillon to win over course and distance on the opening night of the Carnival five weeks ago.
The long-serving Emirati handler also sends out Memorial Day, last season’s Dubai City of Gold sixth.
Bin Surour is also two handed in the Range Rover Sport Handicap over 3,200m with Natural Scenery and Red Galileo, who were third and fourth over 14 furlongs three weeks ago.