Godolphin's 2013 Dubai Gold Cup (UAE-III) victor Cavalryman
makes his first start of the year in the launching pad to this year's edition of that $1 million race, the $200,000 Nad Al Sheba Trophy (UAE-III) March 1 at Meydan Racecourse
A 2,810-meter (about 1 3/4-mile) turf contest, the Nad Al Sheba Trophy drew a full field of 12 plus four also-eligible entrants.
An 8-year-old son of Halling
, Cavalryman did not win in three starts after capturing the Dubai Gold Cup by three lengths from the season's Nad Al Sheba Trophy winner and stablemate Ahzeemah
on Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) night last March. A French group I winner, Cavalryman will have his first outing in seven months and trainer Saeed bin Suroor is pleased with his preparations.
"Cavalryman has been working well and we are very happy with him," bin Suroor said. "Obviously it is his first run of the campaign and he is going to improve from it, but he should run a good race."
Bin Suroor also sends out Statutory, who will be making only his second start for the trainer after campaigning with Mark Johnston in England, where he compiled a 3-2-1 record from nine starts. The 4-year-old Authorized colt was unplaced in a 2,435-meter (about 1 1/2-mile) handicap Feb. 6 at Meydan, but bin Suroor hopes to see an improved effort.
"Statutory was perhaps a bit disappointing last time but will have come on for the run, and he too is going nicely at home," he said.
Fellow Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby saddles Buckwheat
, a 4-year-old Manduro
colt who made a promising debut for the yard 16 days ago.
"We were pleased enough with that first run," Appleby said of Buckwheat, who captured the 2,100-meter (about 1 5/16-mile) Prix Ridgway last June in France for trainer Andre Fabre for his only win from five starts.
"We want to try him over this longer trip to see how well he stays and it would be nice to think he might be a Dubai Gold Cup prospect.
"We are on a learning curve with him and this will tell us a lot."
Mike de Kock trainee Star Empire
was third in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy 12 months ago, and enters with creditable efforts in two starts at Meydan this year. In his most recent start, the 8-year-old son of Second Empire
kicked from the back of the field and finished second going the Nad Al Sheba Trophy distance in the Nova Stakes, a Feb. 6 handicap at Meydan.
"It looks a good race," de Kock said. "There is plenty of strong Dubai World Cup Carnival form in there, and we also have some really good horses having their first starts of the season.
"Hopefully there will be a good gallop as he really needs a strongly run race."
Trainer Michael Halford is represented by Certerach, last year's Nad Al Sheba Trophy runner-up. The 6-year-old Halling gelding comes in off a third in the Nova Stakes.
Simenon is the first Dubai starter for legendary trainer Willie Mullins, who is better known for his National Hunt runners.
The 6-year-old Marju gelding was a two-time Royal Ascot winner in 2012, but he has not won since then. Competing on the world stage last year, he was fourth in the 2013 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) in November and fifth in the Hong Kong Vase (HK-I) in December.
Other entrants include trainer John Oxx's 2012 Goodwood Cup (Eng-II) winner Saddler's Rock
, a 6-year-old son of Sadler's Wells who was fifth in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy last season before finishing seventh behind Cavalryman in the Dubai Gold Cup.
The Nad Al Sheba Trophy is one of six races on the Feb. 6 card, the ninth meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Information on the Dubai World Cup Carnival, including entries, free past-performance data, selections, videos, and more is available at www.amwestentertainment.com
. HRTV will broadcast the card live starting at 9:30 a.m. EST.