Algiers Aims At Al Maktoum Challenge Double

Only four horses in the history of the Dubai World Cup Carnival have managed to win the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge in the same year, with the last of the four, North America (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), completing the double in 2019. Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabousi’s Algiers (Ire) (Shamardal) could be number five, as he leaves from stall eight under James Doyle in Friday’s G2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 Presented By Emaar.

The Simon and Ed Crisford charge blitzed the competition by 6 1/2 lengths when taking the first leg of the challenge in imperious fashion last month, and he is no stranger to group victories in the UAE, as he secured the G3 Jebel Ali Mile last February.

He might not be able to manage his previous stalk-and-pounce trip, as he faces a worthy opponent in Thunder Snow Challenge victor Salute The Soldier (Ger) (Sepoy {Aus}), who went pillar to post in that affair.

Just below the top drawer in the past, Al Rashid Stables’ 2022 G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 runner-up Remorse (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) defeated Bendoog (Gun Runner) in the Listed The Entisar when last seen in December.

Hassan Saleh Al Hammadi’s Desert Wisdom (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), a winner of the G3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday last March, was second to Bathran Leon (Jpn) (Kizuna {Jpn}) in the G2 Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night. He was never involved to finish sixth in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 in the wake of Algiers earlier this year.

‘Prince’ Eyeing Hat Trick

Godolphin’s Valiant Prince (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), fresh off of a three-quarter length victory in the G2 Al Rashidiya going this course and distance here on Jan. 13, is hoping to run his winning thread to three in Friday’s $180,000 G2 Singspiel S. Presented By Emaar. A winner of the Listed Ganton S. at York in June, the bay defeated fellow royal blue colourbearers Dubai Future (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) for Saeed bin Suroor and fellow Appleby trainee Ottoman Fleet (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) last month.

“Valiant Prince has come out of the Al Rashidiya well. He has to carry a penalty for that win but has a nice draw in stall two and should be very competitive based on what he achieved last time out,” said Appleby. “I feel Ottoman Fleet has come forward since the Al Rashidiya, when he travelled well before getting a bit tired in the last 100 yards. He is better at the weights with Valiant Prince this time, which should put him bang there.”

Saeed bin Suroor said: “Dubai Future ran well to finish second in the Al Rashidiya and this course and distance suits him. This is another tough race but he heads into it in good form.”

Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s listed hero San Donato (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) will attempt to regain his form after a seventh-place effort while racing in the rear for trainer Doug Watson in the G2 Al Rashidiya behind Valiant Prince.

Godolphin Quartet Tough To Get Past In Cape Verdi

One of the few races exclusively dedicated to fillies and mares at group level during the Dubai World Cup Carnival, the G2 Cape Verdi Presented By Emaar sees Godolphin field one third of the 12-horse field. Charlie Appleby’s With The Moonlight (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) towers above the dozen entered in the rankings at 112. After taking a stakes in England last May, the daughter of 2009 G2 Flying Childers S. victress Sand Vixen (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) traveled to America and ran with credit to take second in the GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. in July. A winner of the GIII Saratoga Oaks Invitational S. in her own right one month later, With The Moonlight was a close fifth in the GII Lake Placid S. on Aug. 20, but the Cape Verdi is her first try back.

Stablemate and Grade I heroine Wild Beauty (GB) (Frankel {GB}) could only manage fourth to the re-opposing Saeed bin Suroor duo of Soft Whisper (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and White Moonlight (Medaglia d’Oro) in the IPI Tombe S. on Jan. 13.

“With The Moonlight is clear on official ratings and, while the trip will be on the sharper side, I feel that the style of racing at Meydan will suit her,” Appleby said. “Wild Beauty has definitely come on for her first start of the year and will hopefully be very competitive. I feel we have two fillies that should be bang there in the finish.”

Bin Suroor was also positive on his pair, and said, “Soft Whisper is a tough filly, who always tries in her races, and came out of her win in the Ipi Tombe S. in good form. She has been going well at home and I’m looking for another success from her. White Moonlight is a big, strong filly, who is improving all the time. Her latest piece of work went well and the step back up in trip will suit. We are hopeful of another good effort.”

Dirt Sprinters Eye Al Shindagha Laurels

Rounding out the quartet of group races on Friday is the G3 Al Shindagha Sprint presented by Emaar. Fielding 13 runners after two scratches, the 1200-metre affair is a contentious clash, with track-and-trip G3 hero Eastern World (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) one of the leading contenders. The Mohammed Ahmad Ali Al Subousi colourbearer was fifth in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen here on Dubai World Cup night when last seen.

Even with Eastern World at 111 on rankings is Shadwell’s Mubakker (Speightstown), who was fifth in the G2 Godolphin Mile last March. Now seven, the Doug Watson-trained grey has not lost any talent with another year under his belt, as he was only 1 1/2 lengths behind Switzerland (Speightstown), and a like margin in front of Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 2021 G3 UAE 2000 Guineas victor Mouheeb (Flatter) in the G3 Dubawi S. on Jan. 6.

Another Watson trainee set to leave stall seven is Isolate (Mark Valeski) for RRR Racing. Placed in the GIII Nashua S. back in 2020 Stateside, the two-time stakes winner was second in the Louisville Thoroughbred Society S. in his final start for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Tom Amoss, and is making his desert bow for Doug Watson on Friday.

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