Ed Marnane: Frankie Dettori, operating at an impressive 26% strike rate at the Dubai Carnival, has strong book of rides at Meydan on Thursday, all for Saeed bin Suroor.
Bedouin’s Story, winner of a competitive handicap at Meydan on the back of a 481 day break last month, looks the pick of Dettori’s mounts, seven days after finishing a close-up fifth in the Zabeel Mile (Group 2).
Bedouin’s Story was unsuited by the muddling pace but he came home strongly to finish less than two lengths behind the favourite D’bai, and is fancied to win the Dubai Millennium Stakes (Group 3), Race 5. By Farhh, he can handle the step up in distance to 2000m and provide Suroor with his fourth victory in the race.
Bedouin’s Story stable companion Dream Castle, a Group 1 winner in his prime, ran badly behind Zakouski in the Al Rashidiya, trailing in last of seven. He was reported to have moved poorly and had a minor bleed.
Suroor has booked Hector Crouch to ride Royal Marine, a Group 1 winning juvenile in 2018. He has largely struggled since and was only fifth in course and distance handicap on his seasonal reappearance, suggesting he has plenty to find stepping up to Group 3 level.
Charlie Appleby has his horses in cracking form, winning the Balanchine, Zabeel Mile and 1351 Turf Sprint, on the Saudi Cup undercard, in the past seven days. Twelve months ago, the mighty Ghaiyyath took the prize in sensational fashion, and Star Safari has strong claims of giving Appleby his fourth Dubai Millennium in five years.
The fragile Sea The Stars gelding, who will be having only his seventh lifetime appearance, made an encouraging comeback behind Ya Hayati, over the same course and distance, following an 11 month layoff last month.
He confirmed that promise stepping up to 2410m on his next start, defeating Away He Goes and Brilliant Light. Star Safari has the assistance of the red-hot William Buick, who enjoyed a double on the Saudi Cup card, in Riyadh, on Saturday.
The second Group 3 on the card, the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, Race 4, is a key local trial for the Dubai Gold Cup on Dubai World Cup night next month.
First run in 2010, the 2810m contest has been dominated by Godolphin, winning the race no less than nine times.
Away He Goes, trained by Ismail Mohammed, is fancied to see off Godolphin’s four-pronged challenge under new rider Jim Crowley, replacing Antonio Fresu.
The Italian rider left the five-year-old with too much to do and was putting in his best work in the closing stages to finish 0.75 lengths behind Star Safari on his most recent appearance.
Away He Goes is open to improvement stepping up in distance and can open his UAE account at the third time of asking.
The Frankie Dettori-ridden Volcanic Sky, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, has the measure of the re-opposing Godolphin pair Global Heat and Ispolini when they clashed at Meydan in a handicap, over the same course and distance two weeks ago.
On that occasion, Volcanic Sky had to settle for second, failing to see off Dubai Future after making much of the running. Frankie Dettori’s mount should confirm the form and looks the chef threat to Away He Goes.
Pat Cosgrave and Suroor combined to cause a major shock with Gifts Of Gold in Saturday’s $2.5m Red Sea Turf Handicap, the stayer’s showpiece on the Saudi Cup card.
They team up with the unexposed Brilliant Light, winner of two of his six races. He has progressed with racing since returning from a 111-day break last month and merits respect.
Mike de Kock’s Yurman appreciated the switch to turf last time, having struggled badly in a couple of dirt maidens.
Owned and bred by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifia, he caught the eye when second to Mayehaab, running on strongly in the closing stages after missing the break.
One of six horses declared in the Meydan Classic (Listed), over 1600m on turf, Race 3, he faces a stiff task taking on the smart Master Of The Seas, winner of the Superlative Stakes (Group 2) in July last year.
Owned by Godolphin, he will be a hot favourite as he seeks to give trainer Charlie Appleby back-to-back wins after Well Of Wisdom landed the prize last year.
Master Of The Seas lost his unbeaten record when two length fourth behind National Thunder in the National Stakes (Group 1) at The Curragh.
His performance was better than the bare result, having raced keenly in the early stages. Rated 112, Master Of The Seas is very hard to oppose.
The finale has drawn a full field of 14, with Charlie Appleby’s Well Of Wisdom, twice a winner at Listed level, heading the weights in the 1400m Listed handicap on turf.
In a wide-open looking race, Saeed bin Suroor’s unexposed Light And Dark makes plenty of appeal in the hands of Hector Crouch, a rider that has a decent strike rate when teaming up with the Godolphin handler.
Light And Dark, winner of two of his eight races, makes his local debut and comes here in form, winning a 14-runner handicap on the All-Weather at Kempton 141 days ago. He’s open to further improvement and is nicely drawn.
7 BRRAQ 10 RB TORCH 6 BANDAR 9 RB TEXAS HOLD EM
9 YA HAYATI 2 BRIGHT MELODY 3 DUBAI MIRAGE 11 PROMPTING
2 MASTER OF THE SEAS 4 NAVAL CROWN 1 YURMAN 3 MAYEHAAB
1 AWAY HE GOES 6 VOLCANIC SKY 3 GLOBAL HEAT 8 BRILLIANT LIGHT
1 BEDOUIN’S STORY 8 STAR SAFARI 7 ROYAL MARINE 1 DREAM CASTLE
7 LIGHT AND DARK 2 COULD BE KING 12 WASIM 1 WELL OF WISDOM
Race 5 No 1 Bedouin’s Story
BEST VALUE BET
No 11 Prompting
Race 4 1 Away He Goes and 3 Global Heat
[Races 3 to 6]
Leg 1: 2
Leg 2: 1, 3, 6, 8
Leg 3: 1, 8
Leg 4: 1, 2, 7, 12, 13