Gold Town and Royal Marine head Godolphin challenge at Meydan


Past and potential UAE Classic winners headline Godolphin’s 12-strong contingent for week two of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 10 January. 

Four-year-old Gold Town (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle), a dominant winner of last year’s G3 UAE 2,000 Guineas, returns to a mile for the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round One on dirt.  

The son of Street Cry, making his first appearance since coming home fourth in the extended nine-furlong G2 UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night in March, faces stiff opposition with G1 winner North America and G2 Godolphin Mile scorer Heavy Metal among his eight rivals. He is drawn in stall eight.

Charlie Appleby commented: “Gold Town was impressive in the UAE 2,000 Guineas last year, but the trip of the UAE Derby was too far for him at that stage of his career. 

“He is taking on some high-class horses who have very strong form on the dirt at Meydan, but we feel that, if Gold Town can reproduce his UAE Guineas run, he will have a live chance.

“The return to a mile will suit him and we can review whether to go back up in trip as the Carnival progresses.”

Royal Marine (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon, drawn seven) tries dirt for the first time in the mile UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial.

The three-year-old Raven’s Pass colt gained a neck victory in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over the same trip on turf at Longchamp, France, in October – a third and final run during his first season of racing.

He is joined in the 15-runner UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial by Burj (Saeed bin Suroor/Kevin Stott, drawn three), who was twice successful in the UK last year including a wide-margin win over six furlongs on Tapeta at Wolverhampton, but failed to make an impact in two G2s on grass. 

Saeed bin Suroor reported: “Royal Marine won nicely in France and this will give us a chance to see whether he can handle racing on dirt. 

“He is in good form and has been working well. I am hopeful of a good run. 

“Burj was disappointing in the UK last season, but has been doing well out in Dubai. I have been happy with his work and I am looking for a better result from him this time.”

Elsewhere on Thursday’s card, Glassy Waters (Hayley Turner) and Welsh Lord (Rowan Scott), both trained by Saeed bin Suroor, look to translate winning form on the All-Weather in the UK to the Meydan dirt in the 12-runner extended nine-furlong handicap. 

Listed runner-up Roussel (Charlie Appleby/Colm O’Donoghue, drawn five) and progressive four-year-old Iffraaj colt Major Partnership (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon, drawn two) run in the turf handicap over six furlongs. 

New Approach colt Good Fortune (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle, drawn 12), a 10-length scorer on Polytrack at Lingfield Park, UK, in July, lines up alongside the Saeed bin Suroor-trained duo of Estihdaaf (Christophe Soumillon, drawn six) and Dubawi filly Magic Image (Darryll Holland, drawn nine) in the seven-furlong turf conditions race for three-year-olds. 

Fly At Dawn (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle, drawn nine), winner of the UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial in 2017, and Turkish G2 runner-up Silent Attack (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon, drawn seven) both make their seasonal returns in the mile handicap on turf. On The Warpath (Charlie Appleby) and Bedouin’s Story (Saeed bin Suroor) are reserves in the same contest.