Racing returns to Meydan Racecourse Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: It’s the turn of the three-year-old colts to seize the spotlight when Meydan Racecourse hosts the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial sponsored by Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal at its final domestic meeting prior to the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday.

Eleven of them, led by the exciting Rebel’s Romance, will face the starter for the 1,600m dirt contest in a bid to lay down their Classic credentials.

Trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, the Dubawi homebred is undefeated after two starts as a juvenile, both wins coming on the all-weather surfaces in the UK. Looking ahead to his seasonal bow Appleby said: “As a gelding, Dubai is ideal for him because he can aim at the Classics here. He has done nothing wrong so far and is pleasing us at home. He should run well.” William Buck takes the ride,

Fellow Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour, who saddled Soft Whisper to win the 1,400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial last week, is two handed with Line Of Attack and Rich Waters, the former being a once-raced maiden and the latter the winner of one of his three starts.

Jebel Ali Stables handler Nicholas Bachalard sends out a strong contender to test the Godolphin trio in Mouheeb, who was a very impressive winner of a 1200m Jebel Ali maiden a month ago when ridden by Tom Marquand. Stable jockey Ryan Curatolo is back in the saddle on a colt that Bachalard holds in high regard.

“We have some nice young horses, and he is definitely among the better ones,” said the Frenchman. “We decided to keep him at Jebel Ali first time even though the 1,200m would be his absolute minimum trip, so we were very pleased with the way he won.

“Obviously, this is a better race under different conditions, but the 1,600m should be ideal at this stage of his career.”

Another interesting contender is, Zhou Stormm one of two in the race, alongside Grand Dubai, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi.

Stable jockey Connor Beasley, who enjoyed a double on that Meydan last week takes the ride.

“He had to work hard the first day over 1,200m, but was then very impressive, under a penalty, over 1,400m,: he said.

“He has had a nice six week break and the extra 200m should suit, but we do have a wide draw to overcome this time.”

The co-feature is the 1,200m Dubai Trophy sponsored by DP World UAE region, also for three-year-olds, on turf.

A conditions race inaugurated as recently as 2019, Godolphin have won both editions to date with Appleby and Bin Suroor celebrating a winner apiece.

Bin Surour is represented this year with Pat Cosgrave taking the ride on aboard First Smile, a Dark Angel colt who won a novice stakes event at Lingfield in the UK, in the middle of October.

First Smile will be making his turf debut and Bin Suroor said: “He has improved with each won and won easily last time. He has plenty of speed, so 1200m is ideal and the switch to turf should not be a problem.

“He will improve for the outing but is working well and should run a big race.”

Bahrain’s Fawzi Nass relies on First Prophet the winner of one of five starts in Britain when previously trained by Charlie Fellowes.

He will have the services of the Adrie de Vries, the Flying Dutchman, who said: “Our horses have been running well on the whole and he seems a nice new, young, recruit. He seems as though 1200m will suit him, especially first time back, so hopefully, he is going to be thereabouts.”

Bachalard and Curatolo team up with Tahdeed, who will be making his turf debut after two dirt outings as a juvenile at Jebel Ali.

Bachalard said: “He has run OK both times and this looks the ideal chance to try him on turf which, we hope, he will enjoy.”