'Master' Headlines Maktoum Challenge Round 2

'Master' Headlines Maktoum Challenge Round 2
Photo: Rick Samuels
Master Of Hounds
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Master of Hounds is set to make his second start for trainer Mike de Kock in the $250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse Feb. 9. The Al Maktoum Challenge is one of three group races scheduled for the eighth night of racing in the 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Master of Hounds, part of an entry with Hunting Tower, will be seeking to improve off of his second-place finish to Musir in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 1 Sponsored by Etisalat (UAE-III) Jan. 12. The 4-year-old son of Kingmambo has shown an affinity for Meydan’s Tapeta main track, losing to Khawlah by just a nose in the 2011 UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-II) in his only other appearance there.

Christophe Soumillon will be aboard Master of Hounds for the first time.

Godolphin will send out four starters, with Saeed bin Suroor and Mahmood al Zarooni each being represented by two runners. Suroor will saddle Pisco Sour and Prince Bishop, while Al Zarooni will send out Dubai Prince and Biondetti  .

Pisco Sour, a 4-year-old colt by Lemon Drop Kid  , will be making his first start in the Godolphin colors since being purchased from Michael Kerr-Dineen late last summer. The bay colt has won four of nine starts, which includes a victory in the Prix Eugene Adam (Fr-II). William Buick will ride.

Prince Bishop enters riding a two-race winning streak. The 5-year-old gelding most recently rolled to an easy 5 1/4-length victory in a 10-furlong handicap Jan. 20. Silvestre de Sousa will ride.

Frankie Dettori will be aboard Dubai Prince for al Zarooni. The 4-year-old colt by Shamardal will be making his first start since being eased in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) last October. Previously trained by Dermot Weld, Dubai Prince was undefeated in three starts prior to the Champion, which included a victory in the JRA Killavullan Stakes (Ire-III).

Biondetti will try to return to the winner’s circle for the first time in over a year. The son of Bernardini  , who captured the Gran Criterium (Ity-I) as a juvenile, has been winless in three starts since. Mickael Barzalona will be in the irons.

Other contenders in the field include two-time Pacific Classic (gr. I) winner Richard's Kid  , and Mendip, most recently fourth to Musir in the Maktoum Challenge-Round 1.

Bold Silvano Returns in Firebreak

Bold Silvano will be making his first start in just over a year when he faces eight others in the $200,000 Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III) at about one mile. A group I winner in his native South Africa, the de Kock trainee scored an easy 1 1/2-length victory in the 2011 Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 before being sidelined by injury. Soumillon will ride.

Trainer Xavier Nakkachdji will send out Shamalgan. The chestnut son of Footstepsinthesand has won four of his 19 starts, which includes a win in the Darley Oettingen-Rennen (Ger-II) last September. Gregory Benoist will be aboard.

Sheikh Hamdan will send out four challengers in the race including Derbaas, winner of the Al Fahidi Fort (UAE-IIT) last year. The 6-year-old horse most recently finished fifth in the Maktoum Challenge-Round 1.

Nine Square Off in UAE 2000 Guineas

Dark Matter will be the one to beat when he faces eight rivals in the $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III). The 4-year-old Australian-bred has captured two straight races at Meydan and has won three of his last four starts. Jockey Ted Durcan will be aboard for trainer Steven Burridge.

Two of Dark Matter’s main challengers will come from the Godolphin contingent, in the form of Kinglet and Rassam. Kinglet, a son of Kingmambo, is a two-time winner who has hit the board in all five of his career starts. He was second to Dark Matter in the seven-furlong UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Jan. 12. The dark bay colt will be ridden by Mickael Barzalona.

Rassam has started just twice in his career, winning his debut in November at Kempton Park and finishing third to Dark Matter and Kinglet in the Guineas Trial. Dettori will ride the son of Dansili.

 

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