Edited from a Dubai Racing Club release
Ice Cube, the champion 2-year-old of South Africa last season, looks the pick of the 14 runner field in the UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III) over 1,600 meters (about one mile), at the second meeting of the Dubai International Racing Carnival at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday evening.
Trained by Geoff Woodruff and the mount of Piere Strydom, Ice Cube's most recent win came on his last outing when taking the Premiers' Champion Stakes (SAf-I) over 1,600 meters by half a length at Clairwood Park Racecourse at the end of July.
South African runner Victory Moon won the 2003 UAE Two Thousand Guineas, who went on to win the UAE Derby (UAE-II) and this year has his sights set on the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). It will be interesting to see if the four kilogram (about 8.8 pounds) Southern Hemisphere penalty that Ice Cube must carry will place him at a disadvantage.
Godolphin has its first runners of the Dubai International Racing Carnival with Rosencrans, the mount of Frankie Dettori and the Kerrin McEvoy-partnered Sutter's Fort. Rosencrans has had just the one start, winning a maiden at Arlington Park in July, but hasn't been seen since, while Sutter's Fort won three from six when prepared by David Loder as a 2-year-old last year.
Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum has five entries in the race, Clifden, Ryan Moore up, is the highest-rated in the race courtesy of his Italian group III success last June, however the choice of retained rider Ted Durcan is for the Argentinean Little Jim.
Little Jim was purchased after his 2-year-old season in Argentina. That year he won three of four starts--his only defeat came when first past the post but disqualified to third. The form is hard to line up however all four runs were on dirt and his latest effort saw him win by 14 lengths.
Mark Johnston's Carte Sauvage had decent form as a 2-year-old in England last season while Gerard Butler's runner Jack Sullivan has been working extremely well, and will be ridden by Eddie Ahern. Mike de Kock's Lundy's Liability arrives having won his only two starts, not having raced since June. However, based on their 2-year-old form, these colts could give Ice Cube some strong competition.
Prince of Denmark, the mount of Richard Mullen, has done nothing wrong in his only two starts this season, however there does appear to be a lot of speed on in this event and he may not get his own way, especially from post 10. Still, he is a thoroughly professional racehorse who can be expected to run well.
Another prominent South African horse is scheduled to compete in another stakes on the same day. National Currency, trained by Michael Azzie and ridden by Weichong Marwing, is scheduled to compete in the Al Shindaga Sprint
over 1,200 meters (about six furlongs).
This is the first time the Al Shindagha Sprint is to be run on the dirt, however reports are that National Currency is coping with the dirt surface and if that is the case then he will win and win well. A win here would promote him to the top of the list for the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) on the Dubai World Cup program.
"National Currency is a multiple group I winner and he was voted best 3-year-od back home in South Africa," said Azzie. "He is a sprint sensation. He came up against Silent Witness in his last run over in Hong Kong (when finishing a length runner-up in the Hong Kong Sprint), but I can only describe Silent Witness as a freak, he is a very good horse."
"National Currency has been handling the dirt track here at Nad Al Sheba well, he is a sensible horse, and good horses should be able to run on any surface. After the Al Shindaga Sprint we will aim for Super Saturday and then the Dubai Golden Shaheen."
Clive Brittain's Membership is a class racehorse and he has shown he can handle a surface other than grass, winning on the all weather at Lingfield. A winner of the Jersey Stakes (Eng-III) at Royal Ascot, under Gary Stevens, and narrowly beaten on his latest appearance in the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket, he may run into a place especially in receipt of two kilograms (nearly 4 1/2 pounds).
Dantana represented Australia in the Hong Kong Sprint and was subsequently purchased by connections in Macau and now in training with Peter Leyshan.
San Salvador, trained by Mazin Al Kurdi, looks the best of the locals, however he will find this much harder than his good win in handicap company on the opening night of the Carnival.
Opportunist, trained by Doug Watson and ridden by Willie Supple, looks the pick for the opening race, the 1,800 meters (about nine furlongs) Family & Favourites International Rated Stakes
Three starts back Opportunist conceded four kilograms (nearly 9 pounds) to Dubai Honor and proved too good. He has been placed twice since then and taking a line through Dubai Honor, both Elghani, trained by Erwan Charpy, and Al Kurdi's Afghan were behind him in the Jebel Ali Stakes. Dubai Honor subsequently finished fourth (just behind Victory Moon) in last week's Maktoum Challenge, so the form line is strong.
Adiemus, trained by Jeremy Noseda and the mount of Michael Kinane, will be hard to beat if he can reproduce his narrow second in the Cambridgeshire three starts back over this distance at Newmarket.
The second race of the evening, the Fillies & Fashion Stakes
over 2,000 meters (about 10 furlongs) looks likely to go to the Charpy-trained Deodatus, the mount of Seb Sanders. Deodatus has been set for this event for a long time, becoming eligible following his latest win which put him into the ratings band. After winning his last three he looks ideally placed to make it four in a row.
Emteyaz, trained at Jebel Ali by Allan Smith, produced his best effort of the season on his last run and should be at his peak while the British challenger, the Brittain-trained Santando's recent form on the all weather at Lingfield has been good.
Special Parade could continue the South African success at the Carnival by winning the Picnics & Paddocks Stakes
over 1,600 meters (about a mile) on the turf. The Woodruff-trained mare looks particularly well placed in this handicap on the form she has displayed in South Africa. Finishing two lengths behind Dynasty and second to last week's very impressive Crimson Palace, the mare looks the one to beat.
Noseda's Wizard of Noz had good form prior to his latest effort though clearly something was amiss there as he hasn't appeared since. A Touch of Frost, trained by Nicolas de Croutte, has good form in Bahrain and was close up behind Lodge Keeper last start, that horse running very well at Nad Al Sheba a week ago. Butler's Boston Lodge, down on the minimum weight, had good form when last in work and is one of the horses bought specifically with the Dubai International Racing Carnival in mind.
The final event of the evening, the 2,400 meter (about 12 furlongs) Jockeys & Jazz Stakes
on the turf should go to David Loder's Shami, who will strip much fitter for his effort on the opening night of the Carnival when fourth to Prince Of War. The step up to 2,400m will be appreciated. Dettori has been booked and Shami can be expected to produce a prominent effort.
For full racecards and entries click here