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Dubai World Cup Carnival: Marine’s Derby plan depends on crucial dirt test

Saeed bin Suroor names three to follow at the Dubai World Cup Carnival
J A McGrath

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has nominated three horses to follow at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, which commences with an attractive card at Meydan on Thursday, 3 January.

Heading his list is the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere winner Royal Marineinfo-icon, who Saeed believes has the potential to develop into a G2 UAE Derby contender — but all hinges on the colt’s ability to handle the dirt.

“He is a lovely colt, who has done very well since arriving here in Dubai,” the trainer pointed out.

“The plan is to run him next week in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan to see how he runs on a dirt surface. If he performs well on it, then we will press ahead with the Guineas here in Dubai, and after that, the Derby.

“But first, he must show us he is comfortable running on dirt,” he added.

Not all horses handle the surface, as seen only last year when Godolphin’s Masar failed on dirt at Meydan prior to his return to Britain, where he won Newmarket’s G3 Craven Stakes by nine lengths and then triumphed in the G1 Derby at Epsom.

The revamped Dubai World Cup Carnival extends to 10 race days and concludes with ‘Super Saturday,’ on Saturday, 9 March, a fixture widely used as a dress rehearsal for the rich Dubai World Cup card, on Saturday, 30 March.

Saeed bin Suroor’s three to follow at the Dubai World Cup Carnival are:

ASOOF: 4yo bay filly (Dubawi - Lady’s Purse): A progressive filly, who finished third in a strong Newmarket fillies’ maiden last season (Arc runner-up Sea Of Class was second in the same race) and then won handicaps at Ripon, Newbury and Nottingham. Saeed said: “She is only a small filly but she has a good attitude and can make her mark at the Carnival.”

ROYAL MARINE: 3yo bay colt (Raven’s Pass - Inner Secret): Two wins from three starts, including a Doncaster maiden and a G1 victory at Longchamp on Arc Day in October. He is a half-brother to the useful Secret Ambition. Initial target is the UAE Derby, providing he handles dirt track.

LESHLAA: 5yo Chestnut colt (Street Cry - Vine Street): Has won four of his 16 starts but two runs stand out, and neither was a win. He finished fifth in Royal Ascot’s Britannia Handicap, traditionally one of the most competitive races at the Royal meeting, and he was second in the G3 Dubai Millennium at Meydan. He also won a Listed race in Turkey. Saeed said: “I want to see him again in his work before nominating a target for him”