Dubai: Godolphin’s Sharestan, a hugely impressive winner of the Al Rashidiya Trial at Meydan three weeks ago, looks hard to beat in Thursday’s exciting renewal of the Group 2 contest, which forms the centrepiece of the DUBAL-sponsored fourth Carnival meeting of the season.
Saeed Bin Surour has had a couple of big wins in the last couple of weeks and Sharestan can continue his red-hot form by clinching a fifth success for the Emirati handler in the race, which he last won in 2010 with Alexandro.
The five-year-old son of Shamardal routed his rivals in the Trial on his first start for Godolphin, and on that performance looks to be the one they will all have to catch.
Bin Surour indicated that he was one of the horses that he hoped would shine this season.
“He’s a horse that I like very much and I think he will be all right in bigger races,” he said after Sharestan’s victory in the Trial on January 10. “He will have needed that outing and he’s open to improvement. He likes to run just off the pace in a race and finishes his races very well.
“I’m looking for a big run from him in the Al Rashidiya, and hopefully we can look at some more big races for him in the Carnival.”
Sharestan, who will be ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, is one of three Bin Surour-trained horses in the 1,800m contest. Aesoph’s Fables, a Group 1 winner in France, will be ridden by six-time British champion Kieren Fallon, while former UAE champion jockey Ted Durcan takes the ride on Do I All, who was a shock winner of the Zabeel Mile (G2) last season.
Bin Surour’s Godolphin workmate Mahmoud Al Zarouni saddles the Mickael Barzalona-ridden City Style, who has been a very consistent performer at the Carnival where he has won three times since 2009. He was a respectable second behind Musir in the Al Rashidiya last year before running a good third in the $5m (Dh18.3 million) Dubai Duty Free (G1) on Dubai World Cup night.
He reportedly goes well fresh and should have strong claims for success.
It’s very tough to look beyond the Godolphin horses given their strong recent form. However, Mike de Kock’s dual Grade 1 winner The Apache certainly can’t be overlooked.
The six-year-old may have something to find in fitness as this is his first start since he finished sixth to South Africa’s Horse of the Year Igugu in the J & B Met 12 months ago.
Another noteworthy runner in the race is the Doug Watson-trained Albaasil, who was luckless in three starts last season, but reportedly has been training well this term.
Today’s card also features some interesting handicaps, including a five-furlong sprint, which will see top South African sprinter Shea Shea make her Carnival debut for de Kock.
Racing starts at 6.30pm and entrance to public areas in the racecourse is free.
1st Race: Royal Empire 1; Mushreq 2.
2nd Race: Kassiano 1; Sandagiyr 2.
3rd Race: Shea Shea 1; Fityaan 2.
4th Race: Rerouted 1; Ariete Arrollador 2.
5th Race: Sharestan 1; The Apache 2.
6th Race: Time Prisoner 1; Saamidd 2.