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Wootton and Mythical Magic head G2 Zabeel Mile challenge

Racenews

Godolphin launches a strong team for week eight of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 21 February, with 20 declared runners on a card that includes three Group races.

Wootton finished third in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes over a mile at Royal Ascot last year and the four-year-old has his first appearance for Charlie Appleby in the evening’s feature race on turf, the G2 Zabeel Mile, from stall six of the nine runners with James Doyle up.

Charlie Appleby is also represented in the Zabeel Mile by Mythical Magicinfo-icon (William Buick, drawn two), a son of Iffraaj who was runner-up to D’bai in the seven-furlong G2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan on Thursday, 24 January, and First Contact (Colm O’Donoghue, drawn five), who came home seventh in the nine-furlong G2 Al Rashidiya on the same card.

Top Score (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon, drawn nine) finished fifth in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort and the five-year-old steps back up in trip for the G2 Zabeel Mile after finishing down the field in a six-furlong turf handicap on week six of the Carnival.

Charlie Appleby commented: “Wootton brings a good level of form from Europe and his training has gone well. He looks to have strengthened up over the winter and a reproduction of his Royal Ascot run is going to make him a serious contender.

“We were delighted with Mythical Magic’s performance in the Al Fahidi Fort and the step up to a mile is going to suit. We are confident that this is the right trip for him.

“First Contact didn’t settle very well in the Al Rashidiya, so we are looking to get him to relax over this distance and do everything the right way round.”

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Top Score was disappointing over six furlongs on his latest start, but a mile will be better for him and he has been working well at home. We felt that he deserved another chance in a Group race and I am hoping for a better run this time.”

Six Godolphin contenders for the G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes over 10 furlongs on turf include a trio from Charlie Appleby who have already been successful in handicaps at this year’s Carnival.

First Nation (William Buick), by Dubawi, and Oasis Charm (Brett Doyle) both quickened strongly to score over a mile and a quarter on week three and week five respectively, while Spotify (James Doyle) made an impressive first start for the trainer when readily winning over 12 furlongs on Thursday, 24 January.

Charlie Appleby also runs Vintager (Colm O’Donoghue), who makes his Godolphin debut following several excellent performances in the UK, including a decisive mile handicap success under top-weight at Newmarket on his latest outing in July.

Racing History (Chistophe Soumillon) has posted two excellent efforts at Group level during the Carnival for Saeed bin Suroor, most recently taking third in the G2 Al Rashidiya, and his trainer also runs Team Talk (Pat Cosgrave), a son of Teofilo and runner-up to Oasis Charm on his latest start.

Charlie Appleby remarked: “First Nation won well on his first start in Dubai and the form of the race has worked out well. He has done everything right since and looks the one to beat.

“Oasis Charm is a very strong traveller, who picked up nicely in a competitive handicap, and deserves to have a crack at a nice race like this.

“Spotify won over a mile and a half last time but has sharpened up for that run and we feel that dropping back to 10 furlongs is well within his compass.

“Vintager has done well and it was always the plan to start him off over a mile and a quarter, as he ran well to finish fourth in the G3 Hampton Court Stakes on his only previous start over this distance. On all the evidence we have seen at home, it looks to be the right trip for him.”

Saeed bin Suroor commented: “Racing History is a nice horse, who always goes well at home and has been enjoying his racing in Dubai. This is a good distance for him and I am looking for another pleasing performance.

“Team Talk ran well to finish second over this course and distance last time. He has been doing well at home and was fourth in this race last year, so I am hoping for another nice run.”

Divine Image (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) and the Saeed bin Suroor-trained duo of Dubai Beauty (Christophe Soumillon) and Swift Rose (Hayley Turner) came home second, fourth and 14th in the Listed UAE 1000 Guineas at a mile on dirt on week five of the Carnival and all three re-oppose in the G3 UAE Oaks over an extended nine furlongs on dirt.

Charlie Appleby said: “Divine Image is a lightly-raced filly and her inexperience counted against her in the UAE 1000 Guineas, when she missed the break. She has come out of that race well and has experience now on the surface, which should aid her chances.”

Saeed bin Suroor added: “Dubai Beauty has been disappointing so far this year. She won well first time out at Newmarket last season, when she showed some class, and I am hoping that the extra distance might bring about an improved performance.

“Swift Rose has also been disappointing out in Dubai, but there is not much left for her at the Carnival, so we decided to give her another chance in a race like this.”

Gold Town (Charlie Appleby/William Buick, drawn eight of the 12 runners), a son of Street Cry, has twice finished fourth over a mile at this year’s Carnival and last year’s G3 UAE 2000 Guineas winner drops down to seven furlongs for the dirt handicap, in which he has top-weight. The opening race of the card also features stable companion and dirt debutant Aqabah (James Doyle, drawn 10).

Bedouin’s Story (Pat Cosgrave, drawn 14 of the 16 runners) lines up in a mile turf handicap for the third time this Carnival, having made the frame on both his appearances so far, with the four-year-old’s trainer Saeed bin Suroor also responsible for Major Partnership (Kevin Stott, drawn six).

In the same contest, which concludes the latest Dubai World Cup Carnival card, Charlie Appleby sends out three runners – top-weight Symbolization (William Buick, drawn four), who was fourth in a nine-furlong handicap on Thursday, 7 February, plus Aurum (James Doyle, drawn 12) and Completion (Brett Doyle, drawn seven).