James Doyle hopes forward thinking can help Frontiersman in Dubai

By Will Hayler
Thu 8 Mar 2018

By Will Hayler

James Doyle’s magic touch will be truly tested when he teams up again with one of Godolphin’s most enigmatic performers at the Dubai Racing Club Carnival’s Super Saturday meeting this weekend.

Doyle has found opportunities harder to come by at this year’s Carnival, but gets another chance to show just what a talented rider he is when partnering Frontiersman in the Group Two Dubai City Of Gold over a mile and a half.

Watch what happened when Frontiersman and Hawkbill clashed at Newmarket last summer. The pair will meet again at Meydan on Saturday.

Godolphin are responsible for six of the 14 declared runners and have taken eight of the 20 runnings, but Charlie Appleby, trainer of Frontiersman, is still looking for a first success in the race.

Having made his way up through handicap company, Frontiersman made a quantum leap when chasing home Highland Reel in the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom last season, despite looking an awkward ride on the gradients.

However, he managed to get his head in front just once in six subsequent starts when scrambling home by half a length from Red Galileo in a Listed contest at Newmarket in September.

And on more than occasion he appeared to be his own worst enemy, including when third at Wolverhampton in January on his latest start.

“It’s quite a big field and it’s going to be a tough race,” said Doyle, speaking at a Godolphin event this week.

“But Frontiersman was second in the Coronation Cup. There’s no doubt he’s a tricky horse, but on his day when everything goes right, he’s pretty good.

James Doyle talks about 2018 Super Saturday

“We’ve tried a few different things on him and I think on Saturday we’ll just try and be quite positive with him. He’s got a good draw so we’ll just get him out on the lead. There usually aren’t too many front-runners out here or there haven’t been as yet and that should suit him.

“I won on him at Newmarket at the backend of last season and we made all the running so it will probably be the plan again.”

Likely to go off favourite for the race is stablemate Hawkbill, who will be ridden by William Buick, and who finished three-quarters of a length in front of Frontiersman when the pair were first and second in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival meeting.

His principal target is the Dubai Sheema Classic at the end of the month and this is his first start for six months.

“Hawkbill looks like he has wintered very well. He has thrived and he looks like a horse who has done well,” said Buick.

“In an ideal world this is a prep race for the Sheema Classic but he brings a lot of class to the race and he’s the horse they all have to beat. Physically he has done well, mentally he’s great.

“He’s always a very energetic horse. All the signs that we know of his wellbeing, he’s showing all of them. Charlie’s very happy with him. But the main aim is March 31 and he’s on an upward curve for that.”

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