Godolphin Racing's China Visit will seek his second consecutive victory in the Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Challenge (UAE-III) at Nad Al Sheba Thursday night, with three stablemates among the challengers. China Visit and the three other Godolphin runners -- Curule, State Shinto, and Nooshman--are trained by Saeed bin Suroor. (China Visit and Curule finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 2000 Kentucky Derby).
After winning the Maktoum Challenge last year, China Visit went on to win the Prix du Rond-Point Casino Barriere de La Rochelle (Fr-II) on turf at Longchamp, France, defeating Jim and Tonic by a length. The 5-year-old son of Red Ransom was then second to Mount Abu in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp (Fr-I) and third to Eishin Preston in the Hong Kong Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin on December 16.
State Shinto, a 6-year-old son of Pleasant Colony, defeated China Visit by a head at Nad al Sheba in March before going on to finish fourth to Captain Steve in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on dirt at Nad Al Sheba on March 24. In his fifth and final start of 2001, State Shinto was unplaced at Saratoga in the Sword Dancer Handicap (gr. I) on grass.
Nooshman, a 5-year-old Woodman gelding, posted three seconds and two third-place finishes in his 2001 campaign. Others contesting the Maktoum Challenge include Jila, Skoozi, Royal Tryst, Conflict and Zoning.