Five horses will oppose a formidable four-horse entry sent out by Godolphin in Thursday's Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum Challenge -- Round Two (UAE-III) at Nad Al Sheba. Godolphin sends out Curule, China Visit, Best of the Bests, and State Shinto in the 1 1/8-mile dirt race.
Best of the Bests won last year's renewal of this race, but has raced only once since suffering an ankle injury in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), that a seventh-place finish in the Dubai Champion Stakes (Eng-I) won by Nayef. The 5-year-old son of Machiavellian was well below his best form in that October race and will need to improve to repeat in this year's second round of a three-race Dubai World Cup prep series.
China Visit and State Shinto both prepped in the one-mile Round I (UAE-III), in which China Visit finished second by a nose and State Shinto sixth of nine. China Visit seems at his best at a mile, but the 5-year-old bay son of Red Ransom has previously performed well at nine furlongs.
China Visit will be ridden by Jamie Spencer, with Frankie Dettori on Best of the Bests, Ted Durcan on State Shinto, and John Carroll aboard Curule.
Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mualla's New Zealand-bred gelding Skoozi Please and Royal Tryst (Kingmambo--In On the Secret, by Secretariat) -- first and third, respectively, in the first race of the series -- return for the second leg.