Dubai Warrior (GB) | Erika Rasmussen/DRC
By Christina Bossinakis Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum's Dubai Warrior (GB) (Dansili GB) has shown an affinity for the all-weather surface–having recorded six career victories over the surface–and will attempt to translate that form to the dirt in Thursday's G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 at Meydan. Kicking off 2020 with a win in Lingfield's G3 Winter Derby S. on the all-weather in February, the John Gosden trainee finished fifth in Sandown's Listed Coral Gala S. over the summer before returning with a comfortable score in the Nov. 14 Listed Churchill S. at Lingfield. In his latest trip to post, he finished third behind Sangarius (GB) (Kingman GB) and Bangkok (Ire) (Australia GB), who won this season's renewal of the Winter Derby last weekend. Frankie Dettori, who has won a record five editions of the race, has the mount for the 5-year-old's seasonal debut.
“He has been pleasing in his work and works nicely enough on the dirt,” said Gosden. “Obviously, a race is a different matter, so we will find out if he handles it Thursday.”
Thegreatcollection (Saint Anddan) rounded out 2020 with a comfortable victory in Meydan's Listed Dubai Creek Mile Dec. 17 and returned in the new year with a runner-up finish in the Jan. 21 G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1. Trained by Doug Watson, the Zaur Sekrekov-owned gelding reunites with Pat Cosgrave.
“We have been keen to step him up from 1600 meters, so this is the ideal opportunity,” Watson said. “Obviously, it is a good race to stretch him out. I think it will suit him, but it is a strong race.”
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum's Blown By Wind (GB) (Invincible Spirit Ire), conditioned by Salem bin Ghadayer, returned from a 3 1/2-month respite to finish third in a Meydan handicap over a mile Jan. 7 and took a step forward off of that to win his latest, the G3 Jebel Ali Mile Jan. 22. The trainer is also represented by Group 3 scorer Capezzano (Bernardini) and listed winner Firnas (GB) (Dubawi Ire).
Bin Ghadayer said, “Blown By Wind delighted us at Jebel Ali and has been working well since. Capezzano is also going nicely at home, we just need him to transfer that back to the course.”
He added, “Firnas too is in good shape. He is tough and consistent.”
Also on Thursday's card at Meydan, Lord Glitters (Fr) (Whipper) attempts to follow up on a confident win last time out in the Jan. 21 G2 Singspiel S. in the G2 Al Rashidiya over this course and distance. The winner of the 2019 renewal of the G1 Queen Anne S. finished third in a pair of group tests at York last summer before finishing runner up behind multiple Group 1 winning Addeybb (Ire) (Pivotal GB) in Ayr's Listed Doonside Cup S. in September. He concluded the season with a pair of off the board finishes, including a sixth in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Ascot in October.
“That was brilliant in the Singspiel; to travel an 8-year-old and win a big prize was just great,” said trainer David O'Meara. “The penalty does not help, but he has remained in great form.”
Godolphin's Zakouski (GB) (Shamardal) annexed the G2 Zabeel Mile over this turf course one year ago before spending much of the ensuing season on the sidelines. Fourth in his return to action in the G2 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards Challenge S. at Newmarket Oct. 9, the 5-year-old bounced back to take that course's Listed Ben Marshall S. Oct. 30. This season, he was second behind Lord Glitters in last month's Singspiel and William Buick will try to have the gelding to top the early favorite this time.
“We were obviously pleased with Zakouski's first outing of the year in the Singspiel S., when he produced a good effort,” said trainer Charlie Appleby. “He has come on for that run and a slightly improved performance should put him bang there.”
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This story was posted in Shared News Europe and tagged Blown By Wind (GB), Dubai Warrior (GB), G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2, G2 Al Rashidiya, Godolphin, John Gosden, Lord Glitters (Fr), Meydan, Thegreatcollection, Zakouski (GB).
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