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Star Safari sparkles again at Meydan


Progressive five-year-old Star Safariinfo-icon continued his excellent record at Meydan, UAE, as he flew home to take a 12-furlong turf handicap on week four of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Thursday, 11 February.

The Charlie Appleby-trained son of Sea The Stars had scored over a mile and a quarter on his only appearance at last year’s Carnival and made a pleasing return over the same trip when coming home third in the Listed Zabeel Turf at the end of January. Stable-companion Saqqara King (Mickael Barzalona) led the 16 runners for much of the race, with Star Safari settling towards the rear for William Buick.

Saqqara King rallied when Al Dabaran (Jim Crowley) challenged for the lead entering the final quarter-mile but the front two were swamped approaching the final half-furlong as a host of horses looked to hold chances.

Star Safari, who was switched out to deliver his challenge at the top of the straight, quickened strongly to hit the front with just under half a furlong left before going away for a three-quarter length success.

Charlie Appleby said: “We were confident that the step up to a mile and a half would suit Star Safari. He ran a nice race to finish third on his first start of the year on the opening night of the Carnival and had shown at home that he had come forward for that run.

“William has given the horse a nice ride. Turning in, he had a bit of traffic to get through but managed to angle him out and give Star Safari a clear run. The horse galloped out strongly and went through the line well.

“Unfortunately, the Carnival is coming close to an end and we will probably regroup with Star Safari, with a view to bringing him back to England. I am just pleased that he has won again this evening – he broke the track record over 10 furlongs last year and we felt that we would see him progress further this year.

“It might be a big ask to look at something like the G2 Dubai City Of Gold but he is a horse who is going the right way.

“I was delighted with Saqqara King (sixth). Mickael got some nice fractions on the front end and build it up in the right manner. I had it in the back of my mind that he would get tired after such a long time off but he has run a very creditable race. He is entitled to come forward a good bit for now and we can hopefully take him back to England for a bit of fun. He could be a nice Carnival horse for next year.”

William Buick added: “Star Safari is by Sea The Stars, so there is an influence of stamina there, and this was an obvious race. The extra two furlongs were an unknown but he ran very well over a mile and a quarter first time out and was entitled to come on for it, which he showed tonight.

“The race worked out nicely. There was a nice even pace, which I felt was important, and he has that turn of foot. Now he stays a mile and a half, there are more options for him, and he is very lightly-raced. That was only his sixth run and you would have to think that he will only improve.”