Brundtland returns in G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy
Dual G2 winner Brundtland spearheads a four-strong Godolphin challenge for the G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy as the stayers take centre stage on week nine of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 28 February.
Brundtland (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) makes his four-year-old return in the 14-furlong turf contest, having won four of his five starts, including game G2 victories at Longchamp, France, in the Prix Niel over a mile and a half in September and the 15-furlong Prix Chaudenay the following month.
The Dubawi colt drops down in class and trip after coming home a close fourth in the G1 Prix Royal-Oak over a mile and seven furlongs at Chantilly, France, at the end of October.
He is joined in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy by stable companion Ispolini (Mickael Barzalona), runner-up at G3 level in the UK last season, who has performed well in two handicaps on turf at the Carnival so far, including a cosy win over 14 furlongs on Thursday, 17 January.
Bin Battuta (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon) led home Ispolini as the Dubawi duo fought out the finish to a 12-furlong contest on week one of the Carnival, and the five-year-old finished third behind subsequent G3 winner Spotify in another turf handicap over the same course and distance on Thursday, 24 January.
The Godolphin quartet is completed by eight-year-old son of Dubawi, Red Galileo (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave), a course and distance winner at the 2017 Carnival, who was runner-up to Mountain Hunter in a 12-furlong turf handicap at Meydan on Thursday, 14 February.
Charlie Appleby reported: “Brundtland brings a very high level of form into this race, having won twice at G2 level and run competitively in a G1 race on his most recent start.
“He has had a nice break and looks to have done well from three to four. His main target is the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup Night (G2, Saturday, 30 March) and this is a prep run, so we are expecting a nice level of improvement going forwards into that race.
“While the run will bring him on, he is a class performer and his best form will make him very competitive.
“Ispolini won nicely earlier on in the Carnival, which opened up a few doors for him as he looks to be a potential stayer now.
“All being well, he will be bang there this week, which will hopefully give him the opportunity to head out to Australia for the G1 Sydney Cup in April.”
Saeed bin Suroor declared: “Both Bin Battuta and Red Galileo have produced good performances at the Carnival this year and they head into this race in decent form.
“Bin Battuta has twice run well over a mile and a half at the Carnival so far and this trip will help us decide where his future lies.
“Red Galileo came out of his last run in good shape and 14 furlongs is a nice distance for him.”
Thursday’s card also includes the 14-runner Meydan Classic, a mile Listed race on turf for three-year-olds, in which New Approach colt Good Fortune (Charlie Appleby/William Buick, drawn five) looks to follow up an impressive course success in the seven-furlong Dubai Trophy in January.
Burj (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon, drawn 13) drops down in the trip in the same race after fading to fifth behind Art Du Val in the Meydan Trophy over an extended nine furlongs on week seven of the Carnival.
Charlie Appleby commented: “The step up to a mile is going to help Good Fortune, who produced a pleasing display over seven furlongs in the Dubai Trophy. He comes into this race in good order and looks to one to beat.”
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Burj has been disappointing so far out in Dubai, but this looks the last chance to run him at the Carnival and a mile should suit.”
Six-year-old Very Talented (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon), who was third in the 2016 Cambridgeshire heritage handicap at Newmarket, races on dirt for the first time in the Listed Curlin Handicap over a mile and a quarter.
Saeed bin Suroor added: “Very Talented has come on for his first start of the year earlier this month and we wanted to give him a chance on the dirt, while this looks to be the right distance for him.”
Mubtasim (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle, drawn three) made an impressive Carnival debut when scoring over seven furlongs on Thursday, 7 February and the five-year-old features among four Godolphin contenders for the turf handicap over the same distance.
On The Warpath (Charlie Appleby/William Buick, drawn eight) has twice placed in mile turf handicaps at this year’s Carnival, while Saeed bin Suroor is represented by G2 Cape Verdi fourth Victory Wave (Christophe Soumillon, drawn five) and four-year-old son of Farhh Bedouin’s Story (Kevin Stott, drawn 12).
Five Godolphin runners in the concluding 10-furlong turf handicap include the Saeed bin Suroor-trained trio of Mountain Hunter (Christophe Soumillon), by Lonhro, and Cape Cross colt Desert Fire (Pat Cosgrave), who are both seeking a second victory at this year’s Carnival, plus Silent Attack (Kevin Stott).
Listed winners Key Victory (William Buick), the top-weight by Teofilo, and Zorion (James Doyle) go for Charlie Appleby in the same race, for which Dubawi filly Asoof (Saeed bin Suroor) is a reserve.