Godolphin Mile Sponsored By Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One (Group 2)
Dubai: Midnight Sands starts the Group 2 Godolphin Mile as the odds-on favourite and his trainer Doug Watson warned rivals everything seems to be going his way ahead of Saturday’s race.
The five-year-old Speightstown entire has been beaten just once in seven starts on Meydan’s dirt track with his latest success in Super Saturday’s course and distance Group 3 Burj Nahaar the highlight of his career. That coupled with Watson’s belief Midnight Sands has drawn ideally is ominous news for the rest of the 14 in the field.
Watson enjoyed a 1-2-3 in the 2016 edition with One Man Band leading in stablemates Faulkner and Cool Cowboy and defended his crown the following year with Second Summer.
“Midnight Sands just loves it at Meydan on the dirt and worked really well on Monday. He is drawn eight which is ideal, so, fingers crossed, he goes there Saturday with plenty in his favour. We expect a big run,” said Watson, who also dispatches Golden Goal, a winner of two of his six UAE starts, including a 1,400m handicap on this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival programme.
Golden Goal finished fourth behind stablemate Midnight Sands in the Burj Nahaar and will jump out of Gate 6. Watson added: “Draw six looks a positive for Golden Goal because he never found any cover on Super Saturday when he ran well given the way things panned out. He has always been a horse we have really liked and there is plenty of ability there so, we hope, he is going to at least be competitive.”
There is plenty of UAE participation in the race, with Satish Seemar saddling four and Salem bin Ghadayer sending out a pair as well. Heading Seemar’s quartet is Secret Ambition, a comfortable winner of the G3 Firebreak Stakes over track and trip. Tadhg O’Shea rides Secret Ambition, while next best Tuz, second in last year’s Listed Al Bastakiya and third behind Midnight Sands in the Burj Nahaar will go with Antonio Fresu up. Ryan Moore has been booked to ride Roman Rosso, while Pat Cosgrave retains the seat aboard Rodaini, whom he led to victory in the 1,400m Listed Jebel Ali Classic, which helped earn a spot in the race.
Bin Ghadayer saddles four-length winner of the G3 Jebel Ali Mile Blown By Wind and Burj Nahaar runner-up Chiefdom, winner of a domestic handicap over course and distance here in January last year. Bin Ghadayer said: “He won the Jebel Ali Mile impressively but his two subsequent runs were disappointing and maybe came too soon for him.
“We have freshened him up now and if he shows his previous form, he’ll run well. We have put cheekpieces on him first-time — hopefully it will help to focus him, as will the fast pace I think.”
Gustavo Delgado Jr’s Listed winner in January Avant Garde tops the money among the Americans, with Steve Asmussen’s Snapper Sinclair next best.
Godolphin are represented by Saeed Bin Surour’s Dubai Mirage, who is winless in three starts this season, while Jane Chapple-Hyam should fancy her chances as Ambassadorial runs in the hands of recent Saudi Cup winning rider David Egan.
1. Midnight Sands