FRANKIE DETTORI RETURNS TO DUBAI
Ed Marnane: The 2021 Dubai Carnival kicks off with a bang at Meydan on Thursday, featuring three Group 2s and a Group 3.
Charlie Appleby, fresh from winning last week’s UAE 2000 Guineas trial with Rebel’s Romance, can continue his good form in the Singspiel Stakes (Group 2), Race 4, with Zakouski for Godolphin.
By Shamardal, he won a 1600m handicap on his Meydan debut 12 months ago, taking advantage of a lenient rating when easily defeating Yaalail and 11 others. He coped with a step up in class next time, getting the better of Mythical Magic and Dream Castle in a close finish at Group 2 level.
Restricted to just a couple of appearances back on British soil in October, Zakouski won a Listed race at Newmarket in the hands of William Buick, who maintains the partnership on his seasonal reappearance.
Zakouski, winner of four of his six races, remains a horse with plenty more to offer whereas most of his main rivals are exposed.
Kinross, a first runner for Ralph Beckett at Meydan in 10 years, spearheads the British challenge, along with former Queen Ann winner Lord Glitters.
Kinross was highly tried last year, running creditably in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and finishing behind just over five lengths behind European champion juvenile Pinatubo in the Prix Jean Prat (Group 1) at Deauville.
The son of Kingman signed off for the year on a winning note, taking out the Listed Hyde Stakes at Kempton in November.
Lord Glitters, trained by David O’Meara, returns to the Middle East two months after running in the Bahrain International Trophy. The admirable eight-year-old made late headway to finish a close-up fifth behind shock winner Simsir.
Lord Glitters arguably put up the performance of his career at Meydan in 2019, finishing less than two lengths behind Japanese superstar Almond Eye in the Dubai Turf.
Frankie Dettori, the leading jockey in the history of the Dubai Carnival with over a 100 victories, makes a welcome return to Dubai and is an eye-catching booking for the lightly-raced Godolphin-owned Military March, trained by Saeed bin Suroor.
Unbeaten in two appearances at two, he lost little in defeat behind Kameko in the 2000 Guineas on his only outing last year. Not seen since, he’s unlikely to lack for fitness and clearly warrants respect.
First run in 1994, Round I of the Maktoum Challenge, Race 5, has a rich history and this year’s contest looks a decent renewal, with last year’s winner Kimbear back to defend his crown.
Trained by Doug Watson, who has endured a tough couple of weeks after Covid-19 outbreak in his yard led to the withdrawal of all his runners at recent meetings in the UAE, he has won three times since leaving the USA, all over Thursday’s course and distance.
The tough and consistent Thegreatcollection, recent winner of the Dubai Creek Mile, gives Watson a strong hand and is one to consider under the in-form Pat Cosgrave, as he arrives here in good heart and had two of Thursday’s rivals — Salute The Soldier and Capezzano — behind when scoring at Meydan last month.
In a competitive event, Salute The Soldier and Capezzano both have sound claims.
The latter, trained Salem bin Ghadayer, can boast a Group 1 winning form over the course and was entitled to need his comeback five weeks ago. He should strip fitter and has a 2 kg pull at the weights with Thegreatcollection.
Salute The Soldier made a sensational debut on dirt in March last year, demolishing his rivals in the Burj Nahaar, a career-best for trainer Fawzi Nass. He made an encouraging comeback behind Thegreatcollection, leaving the impression he would improve for the race.
Unlike most of his rivals, he’s unexposed under the conditions and should make his presence felt.
South American challenger Ajuste Fiscal, representing Uruguay, is a fascinating runner on his Meydan debut for Antonio Cintra, a trainer who has enjoyed success in Dubai, most notably with Heart Alone in the Al Shindagha Sprint fifteen years ago.
Winner at Group 1 level (on dirt) in his homeland, he could be vulnerable over 1600m distance on the back of a near five-month break.
Of the remainder, Military Law makes most appeal, despite fears the trip is on the short side. He progressed nicely last winter for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri, winning the Entisar Stakes before chasing home Benbatl and Matterhorn in his final two appearances.
He hails from a yard going well and shouldn’t be overlooked at decent odds, especially if the pace is strong.
Race 1, the only handicap over a distance of 1400m, on the card is a competitive, with recent Listed winner Important Mission heading the weights.
He may struggle to give weight to his eight rivals and Golden Goal, in receipt of 4 kg, can gain compensation for a couple of narrow defeats since returning from his summer break.
Trained by Doug Watson, Golden Goal is nicely drawn in stall four and is the choice of stable jockey Pat Dobbs, ahead of Rio Angie, the impressive winner of a minor event, over the same course and distance, on her seasonal debut earlier in the season.
7 GOLDEN GOAL 5 RIO ANGIE 1 IMPORTANT MISSION 3 DESERT DOCTOR
4 WALTON STREET 1 COMMUNIQUE 2 ISPOLINI 6 DUBAI FUTURE
3 BOCHART 3 GLADIATORIAL KING 4 GOOD EFFORT 9 UPPER CLASS
9 ZAKOUSKI 11 MILITARY MARCH 3 DREAM CASTLE 6 LORD GLITTERS
10 SALUTE THE SOLDIER 7 MILITARY LAW 5 KIMBEAR 11 THEGREATCOLLECTION
5 GLORIOUS JOURNEY 3 D’BAI 9 VELORUM 2 COULD BE KING
3 LAZULI 2 EQUILATERAL 1 EKHTIYAAR 4 CASPIAN PRINCE
Best Bet: 9 Zakouski [Race 4]
Best Value: 3 Bochart [Race 3]
Best Swinger: 3 Lazuli and 2 Equilateral [Race 7]
Leg 1: 9, 11
Leg 2: 5, 7, 10, 11
Leg 3: 3, 5, 9
Leg 4: 1, 2, 3