Gold Town, a Street Cry colt running in Godolphin blue, will stretch out to a mile for the first time Feb. 15 in the $250,000 UAE Two Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors at Meydan.
The race is the final local prep for the March 31 UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2), itself a major points race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Gold Town, out of the Invincible Spirit mare Pimpernel, won at first asking in April of 2017 at Newbury. After missing the frame in his next three starts, he was gelded and returned to run third, before finally finding the winner's enclosure again Aug. 12 in a Newmarket handicap.
His first start at Meydan Jan. 25 stamped the colt as a potential star. With William Buick up, Gold Town broke sharply in a conditional race, the UAE Two Thousand Guineas Trial sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminum . After making the lead under steady pressure in the about seven-furlong dirt test, he quickly drew clear at the top of the stretch and won, well geared down, by 4 1/4 lengths.
Several of those who chased him home in the trial, including second- and third-place finishers Roland Rocks and Roy Orbison, return for another try going an extra 200 meters.
Buick again has the mount, starting third from the rail in the expected field of 15 after the early scratch of Waqqad.
"We were both delighted and impressed with Gold Town's dirt debut and we are very hopeful the extra 200 meters in the Guineas will suit him," trainer Charlie Appleby said. "If he can run to the same level as when winning the trial, he will hopefully be hard to beat."
Appleby also saddles Godolphin's Last Voyage, a Kentucky-bred Eskendereya colt who looks to end a two-race losing streak after winning first out when he tries dirt for the first time in his 2018 debut. Godolphin also has the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Racing Country, a homebred Dubawi colt who disappointed in his previous run on the Meydan turf.
"Back on dirt he should run much better, and the 1,600 meters will be in his favor," bin Suroor said.
The seven-race card also includes a $160,000 handicap named the Range Rover Sport over 3,200 meters (about two miles) on the turf—a prep for the Dubai Gold Cup (G2) over the same distance on Dubai World Cup night March 31. Prominent in that is Los Barbados, a 6-year-old Galileo gelding, winner of the EGA Al Taweelah Trophy over the course in his previous race.