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Final Song and Mountain Hunter head team for Dubai World Cup Carnival opener

Racenews

Classic hopeful Final Songinfo-icon and multiple course scorer Mountain Hunter feature among a strong Godolphin contingent for the first fixture of this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 2 January.

Final Song (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon) races on dirt for the first time in the seven-furlong UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial, with the Dark Angel filly having shown a high level of turf form in the UK throughout her juvenile campaign.

After scoring by five lengths on debut, Final Song finished third at G2 level in both the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival. She makes her first appearance since coming home sixth in the G3 Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket in October.

Three Godolphin fillies for the UAE Guineas Trial also include the Saeed bin Suroor-trained duo of Dubai Love (Pat Cosgrave), a debut winner at Nottingham, and Good Reason (Harry Bentley), who scored over 10 furlongs on Polytrack at Chelmsford City in October.

Silent Wave (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) made an impressive winning introduction at Goodwood in May and the War Front filly was eighth on her only subsequent outing in the G3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Final Song ran some very good races in the UK last season and looks to be in good form heading into the trial for the UAE 1,000 Guineas. Seven furlongs will suit and we are looking for a good run, although we have to see how she copes with the dirt.

“Dubai Love is improving all the time and has been enjoying a nice winter in Dubai. She is in good order and I think she has a chance of running well. Good Reason doesn’t display a lot in her work but I am hoping that she can show herself in a better light on the racetrack.”

Two turf handicaps on the opening evening of this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival have been upgraded to Listed level this year. Godolphin is well represented in both races, with Meydan stalwarts Mountain Hunter and Zaman heading five Godolphin contenders for the 12-furlong Dubai Racing Club Classic.

Mountain Hunter (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon) is chasing a fourth success at Meydan and returns to Dubai on the back of a battling nose victory over Loxley in the Listed Godolphin Stakes at Newmarket at the end of September.

Zaman (Charlie Appleby/Mickael Barzalona) readily took the Listed Meydan Classic at the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival and makes his first start since finishing fifth behind Mountain Hunter in a 12-furlong handicap at the course in February.

Lucius Tiberius (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) gets his season underway in the same race after finishing third in a Windsor Listed race in August, while improving five-year-old Gifts Of Gold (Pat Cosgrave) and Dubai Horizon (Kevin Stott) both make their Meydan debuts for Saeed bin Suroor.

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Mountain Hunter won a Listed contest on his latest outing and really enjoys racing at Meydan. He has done well since coming back out to Dubai and a mile and a half suits him. We have been happy with his preparation and I am looking for another good result from him.

“Dubai Horizon has been doing well out in Dubai but we need to see him translate that to the racecourse. I think he will be fine with the step up to a mile and a half and we would like to see whether he gets this distance so we can make plans for the rest of the Carnival.

“Gifts Of Gold doesn’t show a great deal in the mornings but I am hoping that he can perform better at the track. His work suggests that he needs a trip, which is why we are starting him off over a mile and a half.”

Charlie Appleby said: “Lucius Tiberius put together some solid runs in the UK last season and has travelled over well. His preparation has gone nicely and we are hopeful that he can be competitive.

“Zaman has some good past form at Meydan and we have been pleased with his work going into the Carnival. We are looking forward to getting him out and seeing where we are with him, but hopefully he can also prove competitive in a strong race.”

Major Partnership (Pat Cosgrave), successful in a mile handicap at the 2019 Carnival, and Dubai Legacy (Christophe Soumillon), a winner at Newmarket in September, represent Saeed bin Suroor in the evening’s other Listed handicap, the seven-furlong Meydan Challenge.

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Major Partnership won a mile handicap at the Carnival last season but he has been successful over shorter in the UK and should be fine over seven furlongs. Dubai Legacy is in good form and we are looking for a nice run over a trip that suits.”

Improving four-year-old Dubai Icon (Saeed bin Suroor/Rowan Scott) aims for a fourth straight victory as he tries dirt for the first time in an extended nine-furlong handicap, a race in which he is joined by stable companions Piece Of History (Ryan Powell) and Sendeed (Antonio Fresu).