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Dubai sextet chase Commonwealth Cup honours

Invincible Army pick of the pack to continue Emirate’s success at Royal Ascot

Gulf News

Dubai: No less than six horses with a Dubai connection with line-up to contest the £500,000 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1), the first Group One sprint contest in Europe confined to three-year-olds.

It is also the first new race in the 44-year history of the European Pattern race system to go straight in with G1 status.

The sextet is led by the Saeed Manana-owned Invincible Army, winner of the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot in May.

Invincible Army, who was ridden by Ryan Moore on that occasion, will now by partnered by in-form jockey James Doyle.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, who won the inaugural running of the six-furlong contest in 2015 with Muhaarar, is dually represented with Eqtidaar and Enjazaat.

Eqtidaar, who races out of Royal Ascot record-breaking trainer Sir Michael Stoute’s stables, was runner-up to Invincible Army on that occasion.

Enjazaat, third in the same race, is trained by Owen Burrows at Shaikh Hamdan’s Kingwood House Stables in Lambourn.

Mark Johnston saddles Cardsharp for Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, while Godolphin bank on outsider Roussel, who was runner-up in the Windsor Castle at last year’s meeting.

Laugh A Minute, owned by Derby-winning Shaikh Mohammad Obaid Al Maktoum, completes the Dubai quartet.

Meanwhile, former two-time champion jockey Paul Hanagan is pinning his hopes on Sands Of Mali runs, winner of the Gimcrack Stakes as a two-year-old, who is highly regarded by his handler, Richard Fahey.

The jockey told Racking UK: “We are kind of hoping they are going to go quick. He is not the type of horse you can mess about with as he jumps so quick and gets into that big, long stride.

“It was a good Sandy Lane and we’ve always thought a lot of this horse, so we are pretty confident. He is the one I’ve been looking forward to all meeting.”

James Tate, who is responsible for Invincible Army added: “We’re looking forward to the rematch. He should keep improving with every race,” said Tate.

Day 4 at the Royal meeting also features the Group 1 Coronational Stakes over a mile.

Threading, trained by Mark Johnston for Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad and Godolphin’s Aim Of Artemis, who is prepared by John Gosden carry the flag for Dubai owners in a race that was First run in 1840 and was founded to commemorate the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1838.

Day 4 — Friday, June 22

Time Race Distance Prize Money Age

2.30 Albany Stakes (Group 3) 6f £90,000 2

3.05 King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2) 1m 4f £225,000 3

3.40 Commonwealth Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 6f £500,000 3

4.20 Coronation Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 1m rnd £500,000 3

5.00 Sandringham Handicap 1m £90,000 3

5.35 Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (0-105) 1m 4f £90,000 3+

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