Lovely Pass, who led a quartet of Godolphin runners across the finish line in the United Arab Emirates One Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Gulf News earlier this month at Medyan, returns in the $250,000 United Arab Emirates Oaks Sponsored by Al Dana Wealth Management (UAE-III) Feb. 28 in a bid for a second classic victory.
Lovely Pass, Shuruq, Music Chart, and Mar Mar, who swept the top four spots, respectively, in the U.A.E. Guineas, are among nine fillies entered for the Oaks, a 1,900-meter (about 1 3/16-mile) race on the all-weather surface.
Irish-bred Lovely Pass, a smart but willful filly, closed a five-start English campaign with a win on turf at Ascot last September and made a successful transition to Meydan’s all-weather to win the U.A.E. Guineas by a half-length in her season debut Feb. 7.
The Raven's Pass filly, who has worn cheekpieces to help her concentration, reeled in Godolphin runner and pacesetter Mar Mar in the final furlong and stayed on gamely under Ahmed Ajtebi to repel Shuruq’s rally under Silvestre De Sousa, and Music Chart as Mar Mar faded.
With Ajtebi and De Sousa currently serving suspensions, Kieren Fallon has the mount on Lovely Pass, the 2-to-1 morning-line favorite, and Paul Hanagan will ride Shuruq, the 7-to-2 second choice. Mickael Barzalona retains the mount on Music Chart, and James Doyle takes over from William Buick aboard Mar Mar.
Trainer Mike de Kock will send out Emotif, the 4-to-1 third choice, who bids for a breakthrough stakes win after finishing a fifth in the U.A.E. Guineas. In her only other start, the Argentine-bred Giant's Causeway filly scored a visually impressive 4 1/4-length win last May at Greyville in South Africa to make a sensational beginning to her racing career. French champion jockey Christophe Soumillon has the mount.
My Special J's, winner of the 2012 Keeneland Debutante (Ire-II) last August at the Curragh, makes her third start at Medyan for trainer Patrick Shanahan after finishing seventh in the U.A.E. Guineas. Richard Mullen will be aboard for the first time.
English stakes winner Pure Excellence, trained by Mark Johnston, is back against fillies after finishing last under Adrian Nicholls in the United Arab Emirates Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-II) Feb. 14. Richard Hughes has the mount.
The card also includes the $150,000 Meydan Classic Sponsored by Shahrazad Ladies Banking, a 1,600-meter (about one-mile test) that attracted eight entrants, including Elleval, the 2-to-1 favorite on the morning line.
Trained by David Marnane, the Kodiac gelding won a turf conditions race Feb. 7 at Meydan, defeating El Estruendoso by a half-length. Trainer Mick Channon’s Luhaif finished third in that race and also returns in the Meydan Classic.
English stakes winner Deauville Prince, trained by Tom Dascombe, set the pace in the U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas but was headed a quarter-mile out and finished fourth in his first start in Dubai.
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