Dubai: As many as four horses with Dubai connections are likely to contest the Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday is the highlight of this weekend’s racing in the UK.
Godolphin could run three in Scarf, Soul and Dysphonia while Fulbright bids to secure a fourth straight win for owner Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, who won the Hungerford Stakes in 1998 with Muhtathir, looks set to be represented by Aljamaaher, one of the unlucky losers at Glorious Goodwood last week.
Richard Hannon’s three-time Group 2 winner Strong Suit looms as a major threat to the hopes of the Dubai quartet should he take his place in the final line-up for the seven furlong contest alongside fancied stablemate Libranno.
Sir Henry Cecil’s Lennox Stakes winner Chachamaidee is another notable in the race together with the Aidan O’Brien-trained duo Empowering and Reply.
Legendary Irish handler John Oxx has entered Alanza while Eve Johnson Houghton pins her hopes on The Cheka.
Godolphin are likely to be represented by three runners, Cavalryman, Modun and Calvados Blues in the Group 3 Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes over 2,600m.
Cavalryman is a French Group 1 winner while Modun contested the Melbourne Cup last November.
The market leaders are Joshua Tree, winner of the 2010 Canadian International and 2011 Qatar Invitational, and last year’s St Leger hero, Masked Marvel. Meanwhile, Godolphin manager Simon Crisford has hinted that Farhh may be given another shot at Frankel in the £725,000 Juddmonte International at York.
The four-year-old finished six lengths behind him in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood two weeks ago.
Crisford also indicated that Farhh has an alternative York entry. He said: “Frankel is the best horse in the race by a long, long way and if he runs to his form then he will win.
“But Farhh is in good form. We will weigh up the options and he will also get an entry in the Sky Bet Strensall Stakes (August 24).”
Crisford also confirmed that German import Energizer steps up to a mile and a half (2.4km) to tackle the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York on Wednesday week.
Godolphin bought Energizer following his victory in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“He has settled in very well. He is a horse very much for next year, but I think he will run a big race in the Voltigeur,” said Crisford in Sporting Life.
“He was among the elite three-year-olds in Germany and his performance at Ascot was very good. I think the step up to a mile and a half will suit him.”
Godolphin are also lining up Encke, who was narrowly beaten by Noble Mission in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
Crisford said: “I think inexperience cost him at Goodwood and I would hope he will reverse the form at York, especially as the winning margin was so small.
“He failed to handle the undulations on the Sussex Downs and I would expect that a track like York will suit him much better.”
Dandy Boy, owned by Dubai Racing Club Steward Malih Al Basti, won the Workingham Stakes at Royal Ascot and is set to be dropped back to five furlongs for the Nunthorpe Stakes at York.
“We’ve had a think about it and we’ve decided we’re going to have a crack at the Nunthorpe with Dandy Boy, weather permitting,” said Marnane, who was formerly based in Dubai.