Another superb evening of racing with Capezzano and Magic Lily shining in the feature events.
Capezzano oozed class in a hot renewal of the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes and must be a leading contender in next month’s $12 million Dubai World Cup, for all that he fluffed his lines in it last year.
Magic Lily was less flashy than him when following up her Cape Verdi success in the Group 2 Balanchine, but she clearly has a great attitude.
Charlie Appleby, her trainer, had a treble, while William Buick, her rider, enjoyed a double. They also teamed up together to win with Ya Hayati, while Appleby also struck in the finale with Eynhallow.
Bochart was dazzling in the dirt sprint handicap, while Waady’s success was another nod to the form of the exciting Equilateral, who will be back in action at Meydan next week.
Join us again then to find out how he fares!
Charlie Appleby is out on his own now as top trainer at this year's Dubai World Cup Carnival after a second successive hat-trick.
His main rival, Godolphin counterpart Saeed Bin Suroor, had nine runners this evening but no joy.
William Buick had a frustrating start to the Dubai World Cup Carnival - choosing the wrong Charlie Appleby horse on occasions - but, make no mistake, he's flying now.
A treble last week followed by a double this evening means he has some breathing space at the top of the jockey standings.
Need a reminder of all tonight's winners? Here's who delivered and their respective times.
Godolphin duly land the Friday Handicap, although perhaps not with the horse many expected.
Eynhallow, trained by Charlie Appleby, was their hero - making all under Mickael Barzalona. By contrast, the trainer’s Jalmoud folded tamely.
That’s a treble on the night for Appleby, who has now been responsible for 12 winners at this year’s Carnival.
Koeman tried hard to haul back the winner but never quite looked like getting to the leader. Stylehunter was third, with First Nation staying on well from the rear to be fourth.
Appleby recalled a race last year when Eynhallow had "pulled Mickael's arms out" and was full of praise for the jockey.
"He's a genuine horse and Mickael has given him a lovely ride," he said. "He goes out there at a merry gallop and he will maintain it.
"He was off a handy weight. He’s always threatened to do something sensible here."
Racing concludes tonight (10pm) with the Friday Handicap, a $175,000 turf handicap over 2400 metres.
Do not be surprised if there is a sea of blue by the finish because Godolphin will field no fewer than eight runners.
Three of them – Jalmoud, First Nation and Eynhallow – are trained by Charlie Appleby, with the other five – Desert Fire, Dubai Future, Gifts Of Fold, Mountain Hunter and Dubai Horizon – in the care of Saeed Bin Suroor.
William Buick has elected to partner Jalmoud, whose best effort last year was when third in Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris over this trip at Longchamp last year. He has been gelded since last in action, six months ago.
Buick and Appleby have already combined for two wins tonight and the latter said: "On the best of his European form, Jalmood is the one to beat. He’s a character, but his homework has been good and I'm expecting a big run."
Dubai Future won at the main expense of Massif Central, who re-opposes, three weeks ago but this looks tougher.
Trainer Mick Channon has already sprung one surprise at this year’s Carnival with Certain Lad and bids to provide another upset with Koeman, who was an eye-catching fifth in Dubai Future’s race after meeting some trouble.
He’s back! Capezzano makes all for an easy success in the Firebreak Stakes.
Trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer had warned he might need the race and he got typically edgy before the start, but he was swiftly at the head of affairs under Mickael Barzalona and the combination completely dominated against the rail.
Several of his rivals were already out of their comfort zone turning for home but Capezzano had extra gears to play with and he surged clear without appearing to be anything like fully extended.
Secret Ambition and Matterhorn chased him home, with Ambassadorial and Quip the next pair home.
Bar his disappointing run in last year's Dubai World Cup, where he was simply too buzzy and keen, Capezzano has has been hard to fault in the past 13 months.
It would be no surprise if he were to make a much bigger impact in next month's $12 million showpiece, although first will come a tilt at the Saudi Cup.
Barzalona said: "He showed his class and I look forward to his next run. Hopefully he can keep improving. I'm pretty sure today is going to give him a lot of confidence."
A relieved Bin Ghadayer: "We try and keep him relaxed and happy. I was nervous [that he had not had a previous run] but he’d been training and galloping well. He’s a class horse. We’ve made a program and hopefully we are on the right road.
Of Matterhorn, he added: "He was perhaps 70 to 75 per cent fit. We had one gallop over five furlongs. I think he will become a big name."
Sultan Ali’s Group 1-winning Capezzano, the beaten market favourite in last year’s $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline, is the highest-rated runner in the Firebreak Stakes. Can he bounce back with a bang?
The son of Bernardini fluffed his lines in the big one after routing his rivals in a pair of 1600m handicaps at the last DWC Carnival—by a combined 16¼ lengths—and then thumping Thunder Snow by 9½ lengths in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 over 2000m. Last seen finishing last of 12 in the aforementioned Dubai World Cup astern said foe, Thursday’s comeback test will be a stiff one meant to toughen him up for lucrative prizes down the road.
“I delayed this horse and didn’t use him at all in training until the end of September,” trainer Bin Ghadayer said. “He’s a Bernardini, is always keen and I made a program for him that is just February and March to keep his big performances saved for the big nights.
"At the end of the day, he was invited to (the Group 1 $20 million) Saudi Cup and it’s only two weeks until that race, but he will need the race and I think the two weeks is enough time for recover.”
Bin Ghadayer will also saddle 2018 winner Heavy Metal and the consistent Matterhorn, a Listed winner looking to transfer his solid all-weather form to the sandier Meydan dirt course on UAE debut.
Heavy Metal has been a fabulous servant but the 10-year-old has not been at his best on his past two starts. The trainer said: “I won’t give up on him yet. I know he didn’t show it in the last two races, but it’s normal and I hope he comes back up (to form) again. Maybe that will happen in the Firebreak. If I saw him fall away from his form at home, I wouldn’t run him. He has given me a lot of things and deserves special care. I believe in his ability.”
Of Matterhorn, he added: “I think he will make a big name for himself. He has a lot of quality and class.”
Secret Ambition and Ambassadorial add further depth to a very strong running.
There’s no shortage of intrigue in our penultimate race this evening, the $200,000 Firebreak Stakes sponsored by gn.com, despite Muntazah and Heavy Metal being scratched.
Doug Watson, the trainer of Muntazah, now relies on Quip and Thegreatcollection in the eight-runner field.
Quip, a multiple Group 2 winner in America, will be having his first start for Watson and in new silks - the orange and black colours of Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi.
“Obviously, he has the form in the States, other than those last two starts, when he went a little wrong,” Watson said. “He’s had a break and his work since coming back has been fantastic. I took him over to Meydan a couple times to breeze and he looks like he will run well fresh. He is pretty athletic and breaks well. I think everything is going for him.
“If he runs a nice race, we’d like to go on to the Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge after this. North America and Benbatl might be in Saudi and I think he can stretch (to 2000m). He has won over 1700m and 1800m in the States. He can get into the Godolphin Mile with his rating, so there are options if it doesn’t work out.”
He added: “Thegreatcollection is training well and on his night, he can run a big race. He’s a quirky horse, but he takes kickback and if it all falls apart in front of him, he can run on and get a nice piece of the race.”
Waady takes the £135,000 Reach Handicap for Doug Watson and Jim Crowley.
Caspian Prince was out quickly and forced the pace but supporters of Waady never really had an anxious moment as he tracked the front-runner.
Crowley invited him to put his stamp on proceedings in the latter stages and his mount needed no second invitation – giving Watson a sixth win at this year’s Carnival.
American challenger Torosay, trained by Doug O'Neill and ridden by William Buick, threw down a late challenge but never looked like quite getting there.
The admirable Caspian Prince hung on for thrd prize but the drop in trip seemed against Roulston Scar, who was a bit slow away and was unable to make an impact.
Crowley said: "His last run was great and he's a real tough, enthusiastic horse. He's not getting any younger but he's found a nice level of form and is in a good place. He's getting quicker.
"He's always been a bit keen but he stays that five very well. I think he's run to the same level of form as last time, when he was beaten by a proper horse - maybe a Group 1 horse."
Equilateral will be in actionat Meydan and his form has a glow. Waady franked it here, as Rusumaat had last week.
The fifth race on the card at Meydan this evening, the £135,000 Reach Handicap, looks like being fast and furious as it is over the minimum trip of 1000 metres on turf with several habitual front-runners crossing swords.
Course winner Caspian Prince maybe 11 years old, but he retains loads of speed and seems certain to make a bold bid from stall 3. Nine Below Zero, better known for his exploits on dirt, is drawn nearby (5) and also likes to get on with things.
Watch how Roulston Scar won on his penultimate start
Waady, who chased home the exciting Equilateral here last time, and Roulston Scar, a good third here last week after a pervious fluent win, also usually race up near the pace.
The latter drops back 200 metres in trip but does not look short of pace. Dream Today, twice a runner-up at this year’s Carnival, also reverts from 1400 metres, while Speedy Move has been in fine form in non-Carnival company.
Magic Lily becomes the seventh filly to pull off the Cape Verdi/Balanchine double with a decisive success.
The daughter of New Approach, out of Oaks winner Dancing Rain, was bred to appreciate stepping up in trip and she won in determined style despite having a penalty to carry for her previous win over 1600 metres.
She stalked the leaders going well and when William Buick pulled her out to challenge it seemed she might ease clear.
However, she is possibly not one to do much at the head of affairs and the chasing pack hung in there. Her winning distance was just over a length.
French-trained filly Nisreen, who had made her pull out all the stops in the Cape Verdi, briefly threatened to make a real race of it but could not get upsides, despite being better off at the weights.
Maamora and Surrounding were the next pair home.
Appleby said: "A lot of time and effort has gone into this flly. She seems to be growing up - don't forget she came here having run only four races in her career.
"She got in a lovely rhythm and I was always confident she would hit the line strong. I felt we outstayed the French filly [Nisreen] last time and I was confifent stepping up in trip would be her forte."
He added the Jebel Hatta might be a future target.
Buick said: "She was always going to appreciate the extra furlong and she had come on for the Cape Verdi. She grinds it out and wears her heart on her sleeve; she's a fighter.
"I was conscious of getting going before the French filly, who we know has a good turn of foot."
Charlie Appleby has high hopes for Magic Lily and Divine Image in our feature tonight – the Group 2 Balanchine Sponsored By Gulf News which is over 1800 metres and carries prize-money of $250,000.
The impeccably bred Magic Lily is gradually fulfilling her potential after almost two years off the track and she dug deep to win last month’s Group 2 $250,000 Cape Verdi. Watch a replay below.
She beat Nisreen, who re-opposes, by a whisker that night with Peri Lina (fourth)** Maamora** (fifth), Hateya (sixth), Surrounding (seventh) and *Dubai Blue *(eighth) all behind. They all meet again, this time over 200 metres further.
“Magic Lily has come forward for that run,” Appleby said. “Obviously a step up in trip will hopefully see a bit more improvement again there. She has the (1.5kgs) penalty this time around and we’ll take that into account when taking on (Nisreen), who she just got in front of last out.”
Divine Image, who makes her first start of the year, was an impressive winner on the dirt last year in the UAE Oaks. She has been absent since finishing unplaced in French Group 2 company in August, but has enjoyed being back in the UAE.
“Her homework has been good and we’re pleased with how she looks,” Appleby said. “She’s fit and ready. All of her starts, apart from her run on the soft ground at Deauville, have been on the Meydan dirt or the one start on the synthetic in the UK.
"She has action in her homework where she’s travelled well on the turf, so there’s no reason we can think that she won’t handle it. You have to put a line through her run on soft ground, but if she brings that form back from last year at Meydan, she’s going to be a player.
“Two nice fillies and both should be very competitive.”
Surrounding was in season when disappointing in the Cape Verdi, but she ran much better last time.
Richard Mullen was full of enthusiasm for Bochart after his demolition job.
“I was just a passenger,” he insisted about a horse who almost died earlier in his career after an i.ncident in his box “I’ve almost run out of things to say about him – he shouldn’t be here.
“He’s getting faster and better as he gets older and is testament to everybody at Zabeel. After that I guess we will have to dip our toe in the deep end again and strike while the iron is hot.
“We never trained him as a sprinter [when he was younger]. We thought 7f was his trip and got away with that when he was better handicapped, but it stretched him.
“I rode him work on Saturday and he was outstanding. I got off and said either he’s getting quicker or I’m getting my clock wrong.”
Talk about a race going to script! Bochart flew out of the stalls and turned the £135,000 Tabloid Handicap into an exhibition.
It was one-way traffic all the way up the straight as Bochart stretched further an further clear under Richard Mullen to win by seven and a half lengths in a fast time.
He has to be a Super Saturday and then Golden Shaheen contender after this, for all that the American horses will give him more to think about in that.
Winning trainer Satish Seemar was visibly delighted and ran straight to the winner to lead him back in.
Prodigal Son finished second, with Lavaspin, a stablemate of the winner, third. Truck Salesman was unable to get an early position and never figured.
Switzerland makes his debut for Doug Watson in the Tabloid Handicap.
The son of Speightstown was last seen failing to hit the board in the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News for trainer Steve Asmussen.
“He’s had two really good works over at Meydan and (jockey) Pat (Dobbs) is really positive about the horse,” Watson said. “He’s a big, heavy horse, but he’s had some good works and is as well as we could have him.
“He looks lighter to me than he did last year and we thought we would never get him to the races when we got him, but he’s flown along and is doing great. If he can run back close to his best, he will be right there.”
The trainer also gave an update on Muntazah, who has had to be scratched from tonight's Firebreak.
The gelding has suffered a small setback but Watson is hopeful he will be back for Super Saturday.
Front-running Bochart is ideally drawn, in stall 1, to attack from the start in race three - the £135,000 Tabloid Handicap (7.40) over 1200 metres on dirt.
Satish Seemar’s seven-year-old was impressive when making all over course and distance last month. He won easing up by five lengths from Desert Doctor, who re-opposes, with Trickbag (fourth).
Bochart came close to lowering the course record that Mind Your Biscuits achieved in the 2018 Golden Shaheen and winning jockey Richard Mullen said after that win: “He’s one of the yard favourites, it’s been well-documented that he nearly died. He’s the apple of everybody’s eye at Zabeel.
“For him to come and win at the Carnival is testament to everybody’s work at Zabeel. “He’s such an honest horse. He still spooks at everything, it’s why he has a pony. He wants to run, doesn’t want to be in his box. He wants to be part of racing and enjoys the competition.
“He’s a flagbearer for racing in Dubai. The older they get, they don’t get any slower. Horses get five-star treatment out her and improve for the sunshine." The handicapper has had his say, but Bochart is again likely to take plenty of pegging back.
Lavaspin, his stablemate, is tried in a visor, while it would be folly to underestimate American challenger Truck Salesman, who ran a cracker when length second of 8 to Gladiator King in Al Shindagha Sprint a fortnight ago.
My Catch is a non-runner, leaving a field of eight to go to post.
A decisive win for the Charlie Appleby-trained Ya Hayati in the $100,000 Meydan Trophy.
The dirt-bred colt raced quite keenly, challenged quite wide and was probably in front long enough, but it all made no difference with William Buick not having to get too serious to score by a length.
His winning time of 1min 56.16sec was a course record, although there are not too many races run at Meydfan over the trip.
Appleby revealed that Ya Hayati has been a little unruly in the past but he now seems to be going the right way.
Timo Nurmos and Grey Flash filled the places but First View was again disappointing, beating only one of his dozen rivals home.
He said: "He's got a dirt pedigree on his dam's side, but he's not sharp enough yet [for dirt]. We brought him here to gain more experience and confidence. His homework had been good.
"The team have done a good job with him and, thankfully, he going the right way"
The trainer will now consider switching him to dirt, possibly for the Saudi Derby or for the Al Bastakiya back at Meydan in a fortnight.
Buick said: "He was a bit fresh and took me on down the back. He wanted to start racing a little early but this experience will stand him in good stead. He's been training well on the turf and it was a nice performance."
The action moves to the turf for race two tonight, the $100,000 Meydan Trophy Sponsored by Getthat (7.05).
First View has been well held on dirt in two outings at the Carnival but the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained colt had looked promising in winning his first two starts and is interesting switched to turf with a first-time visor equipped.
Princess Bride, his stablemate, also reverts to turf, while Godolphin have a third string to their bow in Charlie Appleby’s Ya Hayati, who got off the mark over 1600 metres at Kempton in October.
I Will Not has to enter calculations after his good fourth to Balla Fever last week (watch above), although he does have an extra 400 metres to cover.
Al Mukhtar got on top close home when landing a 1600 metre maiden at Meydan this month and is likely to again be played late.
*Rasi *wins the Mazrat Al Ruwayah Sponsored By Wheels – a Group 2 contest for Pure Arabians over 1600 metres.
The nine-year-old, tained by Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi, had not shown much in recent starts and was having his first start at Meydan for almost four years.
But he was in determined mood on this occasion, staying on stoutly under Harry Bentley, who was chalking up his third win at this year's Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Rb Lam Tara chased the winner home, having travelled sweetly, with Wadeeaa third.
Af Al Sajanjle, seeking to repeat his win of 12 months earlier, raced prominently and had every chance turning into the straight but faded to finish fourth.
Bentley said: "I had a good draw in stall one and wanted to utilise that. He's always been a very strong traveller but he can be a bit funny in front.
"He lugged a bit left today but he's a horse who has got a lot of ability."
The action gets under way at Meydan this evening (6.30) with the Mazrat Al Ruwayah Sponsored By Wheels – a Group 2 contest for Pure Arabians over 1600 metres on the dirt.
Af Al Sajanjle was a runaway winner of the race last year but has not been in the same form since. Watch his emphatic win below.
Tadgh O'Shea, who rides Af Al Sajanjle, said: "Hopefully lightning can strike twice and he can repeat his win of last year. He was a litle bit disappointing the last time but a mile is his best trip."
Wadeeaa is the highest-rated of the dozen runners and will be hard to beat if reproducing the form he showed to win the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 last year, although his most recent efforts have also not been convincing.
Cheik Roque and Af Al Sajanjle were placed in the latest running of the Al Maktoum Challenge but failed to make an impact in Round 2 last time out.
RB Lam Tara is a five-year-old mare who arrives on the up and, while strictly having a bit to find on the ratings, is worth noting under Fabrice Veron
William Buick was the man to follow last week when he rode a treble.
It elevated him to the top of the jockeys' table. He and James Doyle have both had five winners at this year's Carnival, but Buick leads courtesy of his second places.
Buick has five rides tonight, with Yo Hayati (7.05) and Magic Lily (8.15) the best of them. The pick of Doyle’s three mounts looks to be Roulston Scar in the 8.50.
Charlie Appleby trained the final two victors on last week’s card.
It means he has had nine winners at this year's Carnival, one more than Saeed Bin Suroor, who had nosed in front of him when the brilliant Benbatl triumphed in the feature.
Bin Suroor has had eight winners and no fewer than five seconds.
Appleby has six runners tonight, with Ya Hayati (7.05), Magic Lily (8.15) and Jalmoud (10.00) all leading fancies. Bin Suroor has eight challengers – five of them in the finale – with First View (7.05) perhaps his best hope.
Welcome to our coverage of week seven of the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
The two feature races tonight are the Group 2 Balanchine, sponsored by Gulf News, and the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes, backed by gn.com.
The former race, over 1800 metres and carrying prize-money of $250,000, features a fascinating rematch between Magic Lily and Nisreen, who dominated the finish of last month’s Group 2 $250,000 Cape Verdi.
Magic Lily, trained by Charlie Appleby, prevailed by the narrowest of margins and is expected to enjoy the extra 200 metres she has to cover this evening. She will be ridden by William Buick, who rode a dazzling treble last week.
Watch how Muntazah triumphed last year
Muntazah and Heavy Metal are out of the $200,000 Firebreak Stakes but it is still a hot renewal with Capezzano, Quip (his stablemate), Secret Ambition and Matterhorn all having solid claims. Capezzano, the highest-rated of the ten runners, carried all before him last season before disappointing in the Dubai World Cup.
The other five races on the card provide something for everyone and include three tough handicaps to solve. Seven nations will be represented.
As usual, we will bring you all the news as it happens plus reviews, videos and reaction from the victors and vanquished. Enjoy the action.