Dubai: Heavy Metal will bid to become only the second horse in history to win the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge, the first of three key prep races that lead up to the $10m (Dh36.7 million) Dubai World Cup (G1), when he lines-up alongside a classy field in Thursday’s showpiece race at Meydan.
The last horse to achieve the feat was Le Bernadin in 2016-2017.
Trained by Sandeep Jadvav at the Fazza Racing Stables, Heavy Metal will be making his seasonal bow having last been seen storming home a popular winner of the Group 1 $1.5m Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night last March.
Among his eight rivals are the Satish Seemar-trained North America, a winner of five races at Meydan and the third leg of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge and Godolphin’s UAE 2000 Guineas sensation Gold Town.
Heavy Metal has been drawn in gate seven and Jadhav said: “We were hoping for a better draw but he has won the Godolphin Mile from nine so it should not be a big problem. “He is a strong horse who works well, eats well and is in
good form overall so there are no excuses.
“In my opinion, he should run a good race,” Jadhav added.
“North America is a big threat, but we think Heavy Metal can prove his class.”
Bhupat Seemar, assistant to Satish Seemar, trainer of North America commented: “He’s in very good form and ready to run.
“But the mile is a bit short for him so he’s gonna improve from the race like he did last year when he went on to win a Group One.
“He’s good to roll and this should be a good prep run for future races.”
Champion trainer Doug Watson, who won this contest in 2013 with Barbecue Eddie, saddles three contenders in Kimbear, Muntazah and Etijaah.
“All three are in great shape. Kimbear came out of his first race well in the Garhoud Sprint and he’s had a nice break since then. He has a good draw and should do well,” Watson said.
“Muntazah has been doing well too since running in Abu Dhabi and Etijaah is just a nice older horse who tries every time. So we’ll see how they go.”
Epsom Derby (G1) and Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Charlie Appleby send out Classic winner Gold Town as he seeks a maiden Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 1) trophy.
“The son of Street Cry is making his first appearance since finishing fourth in the Group 2 UAE Derby over nine furlongs on Dubai World Cup night in March.
Appleby commented: “He is taking on some high-class horses who have very strong form on the dirt at Meydan, but we feel that, if Gold Town can reproduce his UAE Guineas run, he will have a live chance.
“The return to a mile will suit him and we can review whether to go back up in trip as the Carnival progresses.”
Thursday’s card also features the first leg of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Sponsored By Yahsat for Purebred Arabians and the prep race for the UAE 2000 Guineas.