Fourteen Set for Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan
South African champion Heavy Metal and Irish classic-placed Gale Force Ten headline a full field of 14 for the $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort (UAE-II) Jan. 23 at Meydan Racecourse.
The 1,400-meter (about seven-furlong) turf test is the feature event at the third meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival. The race was reduced from its previous distance of 1,600 meters (about one mile) and scheduled three weeks earlier than usual. Kentucky-based AmWest Entertainment will deliver the card for simulcasting in North and South America. HRTV will broadcast the card live, starting at 9:30 a.m. EST.
Download the past performances for the Al Fahidi Fort.
Winner of South Africa's Equus Award for champion middle distance horse for the 2012-2013 season, Heavy Metal sprung a pair of group I upsets to nail down divisional honors. He cuts back in distance for his first outing in more than six months since his 16-1 surprise in the 2,200-meter (about 1 3/8-mile) Durban July Stakes (SAf-I), South Africa's biggest race.
The Al Fahidi Fort is to serve as a springboard to other big Carnival races for Heavy Metal.
"The 1,400 meters will be short of his best (distance); however he is well and should be running on at the end. Hopefully he will pick up a piece of the pie," Johannesburg trainer Sean Tarry said on his website.
The 5-year-old Silvano gelding, owned by Chris Van Niekerk, sprung a 40-1 shocker in April, three starts prior the Durban July, when capturing the President's Champion Challenge (Saf-I) going 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles).
Heavy Metal arrived in Dubai with South African trainer Mike de Kock's Dubai contingent. De Kock sends out a new recruit in former Coolmore runner Gale Force Ten, who starts for the first time in the name of South Africa's Wilgebosdrift Stud operation after his acquisition last fall by principal Mary Slack, Jessica Slack, and Michael Javett.
Following his runner-up finish to stablemate and eventual Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Magician in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) last May, the son of Oasis Dream won the seven-furlong Jersey Stakes by head at Royal Ascot. He is winless in three starts since then and enters off a seventh-place finish in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (Fr-I) Sept. 15.
"This was always the plan to start Gale Force Ten off here," said de Kock, who has won the Al Fahidi Fort five times. "Like all mine who have been through quarantine, he is likely to need his first run."
De Kock also is represented by South African group winner Kavanagh, who makes a quick turnaround after finishing fifth in the Dubawi Stakes last week, and former Argentine champion Anaerobio.
The 6-year-old Tiger Ridge gelding is a three-time group II winner in South Africa, where he has finished second or third three times at the top level. A six-start veteran at the Carnival, he was the runner-up in the 2013 Al Shindagha Sprint (UAE-III).
Anaerobio, a 6-year-old son of Catcher In The Rye, is a two-time winner at Meydan at the Al Fahidi Fort distance, including a comfortable win in a handicap on opening day Jan. 9.
Frankie Dettori is booked aboard stakes winner Mshawish, who is trained by Mikel Delzangles for Sheikh Joann bin Hamad Al Thani's new international racing operation Al Shaqab Racing. The jockey is scheduled to return to race riding Wednesday at Lingfield after being sidelined since October with a broken ankle suffered at Nottingham. The injury knocked him out of a ride aboard Sheikh Joaan's tour-de-force winner Treve in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).
Former United Arab Emirates champion trainer Doug Watson sends out Dux Scholar, also a son of Oasis Dream, who is campaigned by controversial Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov.
A stakes winner in Great Britain and group-placed in France, Germany, and Dubai, Dux Scholar enters with a 1-1-1 record from eight starts at Meydan. He finished third in the 2012 Zabeel Mile (UAE-II) and comes in off a seventh-place finish in the 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8-mile) Singspiel Stakes Jan. 9 at Meydan. He capped last season with a respectable fourth, 3 1/2 lengths behind Moonlight Cloud, in the Prix de la Foret (Fr-I) at Longhcamp.
More information on the Dubai World Cup Carnival, including entries, free past performance data, selections, and videos, is available at www.amwestentertainment.com.
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