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Sprint aces Ertijaal and Blue Point primed for Meydan showdown

Wed 21 Feb 2018

Top speedsters Ertijaal and Blue Point face off in a mouthwatering clash for the Group Two Meydan Sprint on Thursday.

Ertijaal - Meydan - Dubai Racing Club Ertijaal has won six races at Meydan during his career (Dubai Racing Club)

Ertijaal, formerly with William Haggas, is the track-record holder over five furlongs, only losing once in six starts over course and distance.

Blue Point, trained by Charlie Appleby, was a dual Group Three winner in Britain last season and a close third to Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup.

Appleby expects to find out whether he will be campaigned over five furlongs or six for the rest of the year.

"I've been delighted with his preparation, it's gone very well and I'm pleased with how he's done from three to four, although we are only in February," said Appleby.

2016 Yorkshire Ebor Festival - Betfred Ebor Day - York Racecourse Blue Point has yet to open his account over five furlongs (PA)

"Like a lot of people, I'm excited to see how he does tomorrow night, but we fully respect the favourite, Ertijaal - he's been nearly unbeatable here for the last two years and he's got a run under his belt.

"We've got the Al Quoz on World Cup night as his main aim in Dubai, but also an eye on the European season. I'm confident he'll be bang there, but there's also a good chance he'll come forward from it as well, without needing the run. He's not quite 100 per cent (fit).

"We could have run him over six furlongs on Super Saturday, but this race fitted in better timing-wise and also this horse has a lot of speed.

"On the back of this we will learn if he is potentially a King's Stand/Nunthorpe horse in the summer or more a Diamond Jubilee/July Cup type, that's what we're looking at finding out."

It is far from a two-horse race, however, as Darren Bunyan's Hit The Bid was second to Ertijaal in January and won easily last time out.

David O'Meara's Out Do and the Ian Williams-trained Sir Maximilian also run, but have plenty to find.

The other Group Two on the card is in the Zabeel Mile, which sees Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor face off again in what has really been the tale of this year's Carnival.

Bin Suroor fields Dream Castle, but the Frankel colt has not really delivered on his early promise.

Appleby runs Bay Of Poets, who has been well beaten behind Benbatl in two starts recently.

Richard Fahey's Another Touch, Mick de Kock's Janoobi and Brett Crawford's Whisky Baron, a South African Group One winner, all line up.

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