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Promise of Godolphin success in star-studded Al Quoz Sprint

J A McGrath

Godolphin mount one of the strongest challenges seen for the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night when the exciting Man Of Promise heads a quartet of star speedsters over the straight six-furlong course at Meydan.

Few have been as impressive at the ‘trials’ as Man Of Promise in the G3 Nad Al Sheba Sprint, over course and distance on March 5, when he blitzed his opposition by four and threequarter lengths, giving nothing else a chance.

Trainer Charlie Appleby was highly impressed: “It was a big performance that he put up there last time, and if he can repeat that, it’s going to make him the one to beat, without doubt.

“I’m obviously delighted the way he has come out of the race, and we look forward to Saturday.  He’s drawn well in 12, which I’m pleased about, and he’s got home advantage as he has won three times over course and distance,” he added.

Man Of Promise is American-bred, by Into Mischief out of a Speightstown mare, but he has never raced on dirt.  He started his career with three runs on turf in Britain, winning his maiden over 7f at Yarmouth.

He finished eighth behind Extravagant Kid in last year’s Al Quoz Sprint, beaten three lengths after disputing the lead on the stands side over 1f out.  William Buick rides this time.

Appleby also saddles the Royal Ascot winner Creative Force, who is making his Meydan debut, and last year’s 2,000 Guineas fourth Naval Crown, while Saeed bin Suroor sends out Mutafawwig to complete the quartet of runners carrying the famous royal blue silks.

Appleby outlined ambitious plans for Creative Force, winner of the G3 Jersey Stakes and later the G1 British Champions Sprint at Ascot.

“The highlights of his career have been at Ascot, and we are very much working back from the G1 Platinum Jubilee in June with him. We’re really looking forward to getting him back to race in Europe, but we thought this would be a very good starting point for his season.

“He’s been out here in Dubai the last couple of weeks and he has shaped well and adapted well. He’s drawn ok in nine, and James Doyle will ride,” he added.

Naval Crown won the G2 Al Fahidi Fort, over 7f, before finishing a disappointing 11th in the 1351 Turf Sprint in Riyadh last month. “He was drawn wide in Saudi, and he raced very freely,” Appleby explained.

“I thought the drop back to six furlongs could possibly suit and just open up a few doors for him if he does come out of this race looking like sprinting is going to be his game. He goes to this race well in himself, and Frankie Dettori will take the mount,” he added.

Appleby’s other two runners on the World Cup card are both potential stars for Moulton Paddocks in 2022, namely Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Yibir, who tackles the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic, and the unbeaten Manobo, who will attempt to extend his sequence in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup, over 2m.

Appleby said: “Yibir shipped over here late. His preparation has gone very well, he’s adapted well since his arrival. His career highlight was the Breeders’ Cup, in which he was backing up after winning the Belmont Derby.

“This is very much a starting point for his 2022 campaign. It’s a very competitive race, a great race to be involved with on World Cup night, as indeed they all are. Hopefully this will springboard him into his new season, and hopefully there will be further travel with him.

“He has drawn 12. But that doesn’t bother me. He’s a hold-up horse, anyway. 

“We will take a look at the G1 Man O’War Stakes in America as one of his target races,” he added.

“Manobo is five from five, an unbeaten son of Sea The Stars, he comes into the Dubai Gold Cup in good order. He’s probably the horse they all have to beat. Will Buick rides,” he added.

Appleby said there was great anticipation that this Dubai World Cup night would be memorable. 

“It will be great to be back at Meydan with a capacity crowd.  It’s always great to see world class competitors coming here to compete, taking on the best from Japan, America and Europe,” he concluded.