The $250,000 Zabeel Mile Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IIT) is one of a pair of stakes races that highlight the Thursday evening card at Meydan Racecourse March 10. Several runners who disappointed in their previous starts on last week’s Super Thursday card are using the Zabeel Mile as a last chance prep for a possible berth in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IT) on March 26.
Hearts of Fire is one of the contenders who will be making a quick turnaround from last week, after an unplaced finish in the nine-furlong Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-IIT). Winner of the Gran Criterium (Ity-I) at 2, the son of Firebreak was named champion juvenile colt that season in both Italy and Germany. Purchased for $905,249 at the Tattersalls Autumn horses in training sale last October, Hearts of Fire is now trained by Qatar-based Ibrahim Saeed Al-Malki for owner Hassan Ali Abdul Malik. Leading German rider Adrie de Vries will have the mount.
Another horse wheeling back in seven days is Cat Junior, who finished well behind Mendip in the Burj Nahaar Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-III). Prior to that, the son of Storm Cat was seventh in the listed Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Dubal on Feb. 10. Although successful in that same race last year, Cat Junior has turned in two poor performances over the all-weather Tapeta surface this season. Trainer Niels Petersen returns his charge to the turf with the hopes of finally achieving a break-out performance. Royston Ffrench will be aboard.
The connections of Navajo Chief are hoping that their 4-year-old colt can make the leap into group company after being successful in the handicap ranks. The son of King's Best was a determined winner in his most recent start, an eight-furlong turf handicap on Feb. 24. Navajo Chief also has a strong second-place finish to stakes winner Win For Sure at the same distance back in January. Kieren Fallon will ride.
Trainer Ben Cecil hopes for dramatic improvement from Ferneley, who finished eleventh in the Jebel Hatta last week. The 7-year-old horse by Ishiguru captured the 2009 Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT) prior to finishing a good second to Ventura in the Woodbine Mile (Can-IT). Ferneley made only one start in 2010, finishing last in the Wickerr Stakes at Del Mar. William Buick will be in the irons.
Godolphin sends out three in the Zabeel Mile. Frankie Dettori climbs aboard Invisible Man for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. The son of Elusive Quality has won four of his 17 starts, and most recently finished a lackluster ninth in the Al Fahidi Fort (UAE-IIT) Feb. 17.
The other two Godolphin starters are Caymans, a son of Secret Savings who was third in the Al Rashidiya Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-IIT), and Rileyskeepingfaith, fourth to Bankable in the Mahab Al Shimaal Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-III) last week.
$250,000 Zabeel Mile Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (gr. II, race 6, 12:45 p.m. EST), 3YO (SH-bred) and up, 8 furlongs, turf. All carry 126 pounds.
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Invisible Man (GB), L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
2. Cat Junior (KY), R. Ffrench, N. Petersen
3. Across the Rhine (KY), W. Supple, T. Collins
4. Kavango (Ire), P. Cosgrave, M. bin Shafya
5. Ferneley (Ire), W. Buick, B. Cecil
6. Caymans (Aus), T. Durcan, S. bin Suroor
7. Silverside (VA), C. Soumillon, M. Delcher
8. Fareer (GB), R. Hills, E. Dunlop
9. Navajo Chief (GB), K. Fallon, A. Jarvis
10. Fanunalter (GB), R. Moore, M. Botti
11. Rileyskeepingfaith (GB), A. Ajtebi, M. Al Zarooni
12. Hearts of Fire (GB), A. de Vries, I. Al-Malki