Horse Racing
Godolphin stables look formidable on Meydan's Super Saturday

07/03/2018 15:02

The two stables representing Godolphin at Super Saturday’s seven-race simulcast meeting have been in roaring form during the current Meydan Carnival and it will come as little surprise if they scoop up more than the two prizes they bagged at this meeting last year.

Veteran Saeed Bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby, the newer kid on the Godolphin block, are involved in an energetic – and they both claim enjoyable – competition at the top of the 2018 table and this major meeting – three weeks before the Dubai World Cup meeting itself – can only intensify that convivial rivalry.

None of Saturday’s races illustrate that better than the G1 Jebel Hatta over 1800m on the turf when Sheikh Mohammed’s racing operation is spoilt for choice. Bin Suroor fields Promising Run (Harry Bentley), Leshlaa (Pat Cosgrave) and Benbatl (Oisin Murphy) with Appleby represented by Folkswood (William Buick) and Blair House (James Doyle).

All five are supremely talented as their ratings reveal with already seven wins between them in the short Carnival meeting. Bin Suroor is rarely effusive about his team but he describes five-time group winner Promising Run – unbeaten in two starts at the 2018 Carnival – as ‘a wonderful mare to train.’ And a strategy will no doubt be planned to exploit gate one for this enthusiastic galloper who loves to race close to the speed.

Meanwhile Appleby says of Blair House: “He’s a laid back character with a tremendous finishing kick.” And with a scorching pace possible in the Jebel Hatta that finishing kick could prove very useful indeed.

Mike de Kock might not be the force he once was at Meydan with just two winners this season but the ever-ambitious South African will seek to thwart Godolphin’s Jebel Hatta aspirations with Janoobi, who delivered a devastating finish under Saturday’s rider Jim Crowley to land the G2 Zabeel Mile here last month.

“He’s one of the best of his generation at home and is strong and keen and likes to lead. An ideal Carnival horse,” so says the maestro trainer who remains positive despite gate eight not being ideal. 

The other G1 on Saturday is the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 over 2000m on the dirt and yet again Godolphin look forceful.  Ratingswise the strongest is Bin Suroor’s  brilliant and versatile Thunder Snow (Oisin Murphy) who is twice a G1 winner on grass in France but who also seems to float over the surface on the Meydan dirt as he showed when surviving a wide trip to scorch to a G2 victory here last month. 

The trainer is effusive: “Thunder Snow is a champion and as far as Saturday is concerned 2000m is absolutely ideal for him now.”

Meanwhile Appleby is represented by Boynton who has a fantastic pedigree for dirt and who won cosily on last month’s Meydan debut despite a high head carriage that did not impress everyone. 

Other big names on show on Super Saturday include the super-fast Ertijaal whose wonderful Meydan record has not put off 15 rivals from taking him on in the 1200m Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint. 

And in the G3 Burj Nahaar over 1600m on the dirt, Hong Kong’s Classic Emperor will have a second Meydan venture after stumbling and unseating his rider at the start of a handicap here last month. Oisin Murphy will ride the smart six-year-old gelding this time.