Dubai: Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby turns his attention to France’s Longchamp racecourse on Thursday, where he takes aim at the three-century old Group 3 Prix de La Porte Maillot.
First staged in 1867, the seven-furlong contest for three-year-olds an over has been won by several horses with a Dubai connection and Appleby is hoping that D’Bai and Space Blues can continue the trend when they line up alongside six rivals.
In 1987, Balbonella became the first Dubai winner of the Porte Maillot, when ridden by Gary Moore to victory in the colours of the Late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Since then, no less than six more horses from the UAE would triumph in the Paris feature including Efaadah, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, in 2018.
Godolphin have won the race twice with the Andre Fabre-trained Inns of Court in 2017 and Saeed Bin Surour’s Josr Algarhoud in 2000.
D’Bai, the mount of multiple French champion Christophe Soumillon, comes into the race on the back of a fourth place effort in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Rosehill, Australia. Previously, he won the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan Racecourse in January.
Space Blues, who was last seen finishing seventh in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint at Meydan in March, will be partnered by Godolphin’s French-based rider Mickael Barzalona.
Meanwhile, Appleby saddles unbeaten three-year-old fillies Althiqa (William Buick) and Spring Of Love (James Doyle) in the seven-furlong Listed Eternal Stales at Haydock Park, in the UK, also on Thursday.
Then on Sunday, Recent Vichy runner-up Sublimis (Mickael Barzalona) makes his Listed debut in the Grand Prix de Lyon over a mile and a half at Lyon Parilly, France. Home Of The Brave, who was runner-up in the 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes, lines up in Saturday’s Listed Civic Stakes at Rosehill.