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D’bai, Althiqa and Lazuli feature in week five team for Dubai World Cup Carnival


Meydan stalwarts D'bai (pictured), Art Du Val, Velorum and Bedouin's Story bid for further course success in the Zabeel Mile, one of three turf G2 races on week five of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Thursday, 18 February.

D’bai (William Buick) makes a rare appearance over a mile for Charlie Appleby having run exclusively over shorter trips throughout the past three years. Now seven, the son of Dubawi makes his second Carnival appearance of 2021 after a fast-finishing second in the seven-furlong G2 Al Fahidi Fort on week one – a race he won in 2019.

Both of Charlie Appleby’s other runners in the Zabeel Mile have also enjoyed success at the Carnival. Art du Val (James Doyle) stayed on strongly to take a nine-furlong handicap in 2020 and was fourth over the same course and distance on his seasonal return in the G2 Singspiel Stakes.

Velorum (Mickael Barzalona) posted an easy victory in a seven-furlong Carnival handicap on his only start of 2020 and steps back up in distance after coming home eighth in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort.

Bedouin’s Story (Frankie Dettori) produced a string of good efforts at the 2019 Carnival and made an exciting return to action for Saeed bin Suroor when overcoming a 481-day absence to take a mile handicap on week two of this year’s Carnival.

Charlie Appleby said: “D’bai ran a very creditable race in the Al Fahidi Fort. The step up to a mile isn’t too much of a concern, bearing in mind he has won over the distance at Ascot and Pontefract in his younger days. He has never won over shorter than seven furlongs and we feel that his style of racing will be suited to this distance.

“Art du Val put up a solid performance in the Singspiel Stakes, when it looked as though he didn’t quite see out the nine furlongs. He has come on for the run and the drop back to a mile should put him bang in the mix.

“Velorum was definitely in need of his seasonal return in the Al Fahidi Fort and has come forward for the run. He is an unexposed horse and we are confident that he can be competitive at this level.”

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Bedouin’s Story won nicely at Meydan last time, when he came from the rear under Frankie Dettori. This is a significant step up in class but the mile at Meydan suits him well and we are looking forward to seeing him run another decent race.”

Godolphin also looks to hold leading chances in both of the evening’s other G2 contests on the turf.

Althiqa (William Buick) aims to become the fourth consecutive filly in the royal blue silks to follow up victory in the G2 Cape Verdi with success in the G2 Balanchine.

The Charlie Appleby-trained four-year-old stretches out to nine furlongs for the first time following an impressive display in the mile feature on week two of the Carnival.

She re-opposes three Godolphin fillies from the Cape Verdi – Dubai Love (Frankie Dettori), Summer Romance (James Doyle) and Last Look (Hector Crouch) – who finished third, fifth and eighth.

Dubai Love captured the UAE 1,000 Guineas for Saeed bin Suroor in 2020, while her stable-companion Last Look lost her unbeaten record in the Cape Verdi having scored three times in the UK in 2019.

Summer Romance was successful in the G3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom Downs in June and was pitched into G1 company by Charlie Appleby for the Prix Rothschild at Deauville, France, in August, in which she faded down the field after making the running.

Charlie Appleby said: “We had a question mark over Althiqa getting a mile going into the Cape Verdi but she saw it out well. Nine furlongs with a penalty is another question but she is the class filly in the field and goes into this in great order.

“Summer Romance was a little disappointing in the Cape Verdi. She came out of the race in good order and we will run her in a hood this time. She is the filly who you would think would get this trip, although you might question it on the back of her last run.”

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Dubai Love is a tough filly, who showed her class when winning the UAE 1,000 Guineas last year. She has been going well and heads into this race in good form. Nine furlongs will be no problem for her.

“Last Look is a full-sister to Farhh and several other nice horses. She was beaten for the first time in the Cape Verdi but needed the run. Stepping up in distance will suit and she has improved for her first start of the year.”

Lazuli (William Buick) shaped promisingly on his Carnival debut when third behind Equilateral in the five-furlong Listed Dubai Dash on week one and the son of Dubawi races over the same trip in the G2 Meydan Sprint.

The four-year-old enjoyed a progressive 2020 in Europe for Charlie Appleby, including breaking the five-furlong course record at Newbury with a scintillating win in the G3 World Trophy.

Charlie Appleby said: “We were delighted with Lazuli’s first start of the year and he has definitely come forward for the run. This looks another competitive contest, with A’Ali and Equilateral in the field, and it should be a good race between some nice sprinters.”

Last Sunset (Frankie Dettori) was runner-up to Soft Whisper in the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial in early January and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained filly switches back to dirt for the G3 UAE Oaks.

Saeed bin Suroor said: “I think stepping up to nine and a half furlongs is going to suit Last Sunset. She ran well behind Soft Whisper in the trial for the UAE 1,000 Guineas and I am hopeful of another good run.”

Three Godolphin contenders in the Listed Curlin Stakes include a son of the 2008 Dubai World Cup winner, Desert Peace (William Buick), who has won two of his three All-Weather starts for Charlie Appleby.

Real World (Pat Cosgrave) and Dubai Icon (Frankie Dettori) have run well on the dirt at Meydan and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained duo also line up in the 10-furlong handicap.

Saeed bin Suroor is responsible for both Godolphin runners in the evening’s other dirt handicap over a mile, with course winner Bright Start (Harry Bentley) joining lightly raced four-year-old Big Team (Pat Cosgrave).