Dubai This has by far been Team Godolphin’s best season in the Dubai World Cup Carnival and the powerhouse stable looks set to continue their dominance on week nine on Thursday, where the headline act is the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 2,810 metres.
Together, it’s trainers, Saeed Bin Surour and Charlie Appleby have swept all before them, winning 23 races and amassing in excess of $13 million (Dh47.75 million).
Stayers take centrestage in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, a useful prep for the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) on Dubai World Cup night on March 30, with Godolphin supplying four of the seven runners in contention in a race in which they have won six of the last eight renewals.
Appleby’s Brundtland is a dual Group 2 winner in France and looks the pick of the Godolphin quartet.
The choice of stable jockey William Buick, the handsome Dubawi colt won the Prix Niel last September and demonstrated his staying abilities with an impressive victory in the Prix Chaudenay over an extended 3,000m on Arc weekend at Longchamp.
He is joined in the race by stable companion Ispolini (Mickael Barzalona), already a winner at the Carnival so far, when successful over 2,800m in a handicap on January 17.
Veteran Godolphin handler Bin Surour saddles Bin Battuta (Christophe Soumillon) and experienced stayer Red Galileo (Pat Cosgrave), who was a course and distance winner at the 2017 Carnival.
Looking ahead to the Thursday’s showpiece race, Appleby said on the Godolphin website: “Brundtland brings a very high level of form into this race, having won twice at Group 2 level and run competitively in a G1 race on his most recent start.
“He has had a nice break and looks to have done well from three to four. His main target is the Dubai Gold Cup and this is a prep run, so we are expecting a nice level of improvement going forwards into that race.
“While the run will bring him on, he is a class performer and his best form will make him very competitive.
“Ispolini won nicely earlier on in the Carnival, which opened up a few doors for him as he looks to be a potential stayer now.
“All being well, he will be bang there this week, which will hopefully give him the opportunity to head out to Australia for the Group 1 Sydney Cup in April.”
Bin Suroor said: “Both Bin Battuta and Red Galileo have produced good performances at the Carnival this year and they head into this race in decent form.”
Thursday’s card also includes the Listed Meydan Classic over a mile on turf for three-year-olds, in which Dubai Trophy winner Good Fortune (William Buick) looks to have strong claims.
Appleby commented: “The step up to a mile is going to help Good Fortune, who produced a pleasing display over seven furlongs in the Dubai Trophy. He comes into this race in good order and looks the one to beat.”
However, the horse going into the race with the strongest form is the Ahmad Bin Harmash-trained Golden Jaguar, a decisive winner of the Meydan Trial on January 31.
Many of the contenders have met already in the Meydan Classic Trial and the Dubai Trophy earlier in the season, so strategy could play a big part in the race.
The meeting opens with the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 sponsored by Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One for Purebred Arabians.