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Maftool & Sir Fever Seek UAE Derby Glory

Maftool bids for a Classic double in the Group Two UAE Derby Sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group at Meydan, UAE on Dubai World Cup night, Saturday, March 28.

Time/Date - 17.55hrs local time/Saturday, March 28, 2015
Racecourse/Country - Meydan/UAE
Surface/Distance - Dirt/1m 1f 110y

Maftool bids for a Classic double in the Group Two UAE Derby Sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group at Meydan, UAE on Dubai World Cup night, Saturday, March 28.

Sir Fever also runs for Godolphin in the US$2-million race, which takes place over nine and a half furlongs on dirt.

Maftool (Saeed bin Suroor/Paul Hanagan) ran on strongly to beat Mubtaahij by a head in the Group Three UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored By Al Tayer Motors over a mile at Meydan on February 12.

The three-year-old son of Hard Spun finished well after missing the break to come home third behind the same horse in the seven-furlong UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Sponsored By DP World UAE Region on January 15.

He won on two of his five starts in the UK last year, including when gaining an impressive victory in the seven-furlong Group Three Somerville Tattersall Stakes on turf at Newmarket.

Sir Fever (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) makes his second appearance of 2015 after finishing second, two and a half lengths behind Mubtaahij, in the Listed Al Bastakiya Sponsored By Emirates Skywards over the UAE Derby course and distance on March 7.

The southern hemisphere-bred colt became the first horse since Invasor in 2005 to capture the Uruguayan Triple Crown and posted a five and a half length victory in the local Group One Gran Premio Nacional over an extended 12 furlongs on dirt at Maronas in November.

He was unbeaten in South America and all nine of his other victories came at the same course, including local Group One wins in the 10-furlong Gran Premio Jockey Club on October 5 and the mile Clasico Gran Premio Polla de Potrillos.

Saeed bin Suroor said: "Maftool likes to be handy in his races so I hope he starts well.

"I am pleased with the horse as he has progressed since his last race. The longer distance of the UAE Derby will suit him.

"The jockey (Paul Hanagan) has been riding him in the mornings at home. It is a tough race but Maftool has a chance as he is proven on the dirt."

Charlie Appleby commented: "Sir Fever has a pleasing draw in stall four. In races over the UAE Derby distance, the first turn comes soon enough and the draw should help him go forward which is what we are intending.

"We have got the headgear on him just to help us a bit more. Sir Fever is a big, lengthy galloper and the headgear will help his concentration and keep him focused on the race.

"William (Buick) and I learnt a lot about him on his one start in Dubai, getting to know his strengths. He has been an easy horse to train but without seeing him at the races first hand before we found out plenty about the horse on his Al Bastakiya run and his potential style.

"So we took a lot of positives out of his first start for us. He is in really good nick and we hope he will be competitive in a good race on Saturday."

William Buick said: "I am looking forward to riding Sir Fever again. He ran well first time this year. He was rusty and needed the run. He has improved for the outing and has blinkers on which will help.

"It is an open race, and I am looking for a good performance if we can get out of the stalls rolling. It is his kind of surface and style of racing. He proved himself in Uruguay and the times he clocked in his races there were phenomenal.

"On Super Saturday, the winner came past us easily but we were getting back to him by the line. Our boy stays, he tries very hard and is a gutsy horse. I would not want to swop him as I am excited to see what he can do."

Maftool, exiting gate nine, and Sir Fever take on eight others including Mubtaahij, Japanese raiders Golden Barows, Dear Domus and Tap That, and Saudi Arabian challenger Alnajem Alfaiz.

Godolphin has won the UAE Derby with China Visit (2000), Express Tour (2001), Essence Of Dubai (2002), Blues And Royals (2005), Discreet Catinfo-icon (2006), Regal Ransom (2009) and Khawlah (2011).

Maftool © Feroz Khan