Dubai Dream Castle heads a six-strong army of Godolphin contenders for the Al Rashidiya, one of two Group 2 races that highlight week four of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday.
Winner of the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes in the opening week of the Carnival — Dream Castle (Christophe Soumillon) the five-year-old son of the legendary Frankel looks to be the one to beat in the 1800 metre contest which is a recognised prep race for the $6 million (Dh22.03 million) Dubai Turf (G1) on Dubai World Cup night, March 30.
He is one of three Saeed Bin Surour-trained horses in the race, the others being Leshlaa (Pat Cosgrave), Racing History (Kevin Stott). The Emirati handler has won the last two runnings of the Al Rashidiya.
The strong Godolphin sextet also features the Charlie Appleby-trained trio of Blair House, Singspiel Stakes fifth Bay Of Poets (Brett Doyle), who was runner-up in the 2018 Al Rashidiya, and First Contact (Colm O’Donoghue), a Listed winner in France on his latest outing in September.
Bin Surour commented: “Dream Castle won well in the Singspiel Stakes and came out of the race in very good order.
“This is a step up to a Group 2 race, but I have been pleased with his work and I am looking for another good run.
“Racing History ran a pleasing race behind Dream Castle and this looks to be the right race for him. Leshlaa looks to be in good condition and is ready to make his seasonal return. He is by Street Cry and we want to keep our options open whether to race him on dirt or keep him on the turf, so this will hopefully guide us.”
Commenting on his trio Appleby said: “Blair House put up a couple of decent performances out in Australia and has had a little break since.
“He is a course and distance winner and any reproduction of that form will obviously make him very competitive. He is fresh and well.
“We felt that Bay Of Poets ran a nice enough race in the Singspiel Stakes, when his saddle slipped. This trip looks right for him and he should be in the mix if he turns up on his ‘A’ game.
“First Contact is stepping up in trip, having won over a mile in France last time out, which we feel will produce further improvement. He has had a nice break and has done well out in Dubai.”
The meet’s co-featured Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort. Has attracted the first ever Dubai runner from Australian handler Chris Waller, best known for trained superstar mare Winx to 29 consecutive stakes race wins including 22 Group 1s.
Waller sends out Comin’ Through, the winner of seven of 23 starts in his native Australia.
The classy field also includes Group 1 winner Marinaresco and multiple Group 2 scorers Championship and Janoobi.
“It’s been the plan for a long time to get to race in Dubai,” Waller said. “We’re very respectful of racing there and the importance of it on the world stage.
“Comin’ Through is one step below the top 10 horses in Australia, but he’s very talented. There’s good prize money in Dubai and we enjoy the challenge of taking a horse like him overseas. It’s very exciting.
Godolphin is well-represented in the seven-furlong contest, with the four contenders including a trio from Appleby’s Marmoom Stables, among them 2018 Al Fahidi fourth D’bai (James Doyle), Bravo Zolo (Brett Doyle) and listed winner Mythical Magic (Colm O’Donoghue).
Bin Surour is represented by Top Score (Christophe Soumillon).