Jebel Hatta A Means To An End For Real World

by Alan Carasso, Emma Berry, Brian Sheerin & Heather Anderson

Runner-up to Cartier Horse of the Year Baaeed (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) in last year’s G1 Lockinge S. and G1 Queen Anne S., Real World (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) makes his first trip to the races in nearly nine months verus 14 rivals–including four others from Godolphin–in Saturday’s G1 Jebel Hatta S. at Meydan Racecourse. The race, part of Super Saturday which is a World Pool event, is the final lead-up test prior to the G1 Dubai Turf in three weeks’ time.

Real World defeated Shadwell’s Alfareeq (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) in the G2 Zabeel Mile over this turf course last January, but never lifted a hoof on the dirt in the G1 Saudi Cup and G1 Dubai World Cup. He acquitted himself nicely in those two subsequent efforts over a mile on turf back in England, but is unraced since and trainer Saaed bin Suroor feels there will be some ring-rustiness come Saturday.

“When he comes back for the race he will be at 80 or 85%, but he will need the race to improve from it,” bin Suroor told PA Sport. “We’ve given him a lot of time but he’s back now, in training and working well.”

There are no delusions of grandeur this time round, as the Dubai Turf is next on the dance card assuming all goes well at the weekend. “That’s the target for him, he will hopefully come on to be just right for that,” he said.

Real World has also been gelded since his last run and bin Suroor sees that as a positive. “He’s more relaxed than before and I hope it will also improve him in the future,” the trainer said.

In the absence of Real World, Alfareeq ran out a 1 1/4-length winner of last year’s Jebel Hatta before finishing seventh in the Dubai Turf. The 6-year-old has finished second in each of his three outings during the current season, including a narrow defeat at the hooves of Godolphin’s in-form Valiant Prince (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the course-and-distance G2 Singspiel S. Feb. 3.

I Am Superman (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}) nearly won the G1 Rupert Clarke S. over 1400 metres at Caulfield last September and has hardly been disgraced in two appearances at the Carnival, finishing third to the ‘Boys in Blue’s Master of the Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the Jan. 20 Zabeel Mile and fourth in listed company over seven furlongs Feb. 10.

Hong Kong-based Russian Emperor (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) adds a bit of international flavour to Super Saturday. Last-out winner of the Listed H H The Amir Trophy in Qatar, the Douglas Whyte-trainee shortens up in trip for the Jebel Hatta before stretching back out on World Cup night.

“This weekend’s race is not the main goal,” the South African said. “Obviously, our main goal is the Sheema Classic but I wanted him to go around this weekend, have a look at the track and hopefully be competitive but I can’t see him winning a race like that–it’s purely a stepping stone for the Sheema Classic.”


Bendoog May Be Up To the ‘Challenge’

Saturday’s G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 lost some of its lustre earlier in the week when defending champion Hypothetical (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) was withdrawn, leaving a field of 10 chasing Group 1 glory over the Dubai World Cup distance of 2000 metres.

Trainer Bhupat Seemar seeks a first win in the race and will be represented by no fewer than four runners. Of those, Bendoog (Gun Runner) would appear to have the greatest upside and brings consistent form to the table. The scopey colt, a pacesetting fourth in last year’s G2 UAE Derby on World Cup night, has amassed a record of 1-2-1 in four starts since the racing season in the Emirates kicked off last November. After besting Quality Humor (Distorted Humor) in a rated conditions test over a mile on Dec. 1, the bay was runner-up in listed company three weeks later and followed that with a third behind Salute the Soldier (Ger) (Sepoy {Aus}) and Atletico El Culano (Uru) (Alcorano {Brz}) in a course-and-distance test Jan. 13. Bendoog exits a distant second to top World Cup chance Algiers (Ire) (Shamardal) in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 Feb. 3, but needs to prove he can see out this trip.

“He’s a forward-going horse with a good draw, so hopefully he’ll get a good break,” Seemar said.

Stablemate Kafoo (Curlin), fourth to Hypothetical in this event last term, was well below his best when a well-beaten 10th to Algiers in the Maktoum Challenge R1 going the 1600 metres Jan. 6, but hinted there might be better to come when staying on well up the rise to be fourth in the G3 Jebel Ali Mile last time on Feb. 11.

Salute the Soldier, who won this race by 5 1/2 lengths in 2021, could not build on his conditions success, as he finished better than 11 lengths behind Algiers in Round 2. He is capable of better for trainer Fawzi Nass and will need it to be a factor.

“Last time he stumbled coming out of the gate, overreached and pulled a shoe,” explained jockey Adrie de Vries. “That cost him his position early on and he was at the back of the field and got a lot of dirt, which he doesn’t really like. You can forget about that run.” –Alan Carasso


Rebel a Lost Cause as Kemari Steps Up

The defection of Rebel’s Romance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) knocked a huge dent in the line-up for the G2 Dubai City of Gold with the dual Group/Grade 1 winner having looked the stand-out on class. His absence still leaves Godolphin with four runners, led by Kemari (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), who was last seen running fourth in the G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy.

“Getting that run under his belt has done him good,” said trainer Charlie Appleby. “He ran well behind Rebel’s Romance over this distance a couple of times last season and should be a player.”

The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Global Heat (Ire) (Toronado {Ire}) has had an active winter in Dubai with victory over 1m6f in the Listed Al Khail Trophy and drops back in trip for this race, in which another Appleby contender, Global Storm (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) was third last year and reappears for the first time since September.

Outside the Godolphin quartet, which is completed by White Wolf (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), the most credible challenger looks to be the Caspar Fownes-trained Senor Toba (Aus) (Toronado {Ire}), a dual Group 3 winner in Hong Kong. The second of those wins came as recently as Feb 5 before the 5-year-old shipped to Qatar for the HH The Amir Trophy a fortnight later, in which he was seventh in a decent field.

Away He Goes (Ire) (Farhh {GB}), whose lifetime best came when he ran second to Trueshan (Fr) in the 2021 Goodwood Cup, was runner-up to Global Heat back in January and has since been fifth in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy. –Emma Berry


Al Dasim Aiming for Five-Timer

Plenty of contenders bring good recent form into the G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, with 3-year-old Al Dasim (Ire) (Harry Angel {Ire}) lining up on the back of four straight wins for George Boughey, including two over this trip at Meydan.

Gordon Elliott’s attention will be focussed on the countdown to the Cheltenham Festival but he could well be provided with another winter warmer by the dual listed winner Coachello (Fr) (Dunkerque {Fr}). The 5-year-old had the measure of Godolphin’s City Walk (Ire) (Brazen Beau {Aus}) when they met in January but the latter has since bounced back to win over course and distance.

Miqyaas (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) snared the G2 Blue Point Sprint over five furlongs last month but he has also been effective over six and can’t be ruled out, while Acklam Express (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) returns in an attempt to improve on his seventh-place finish in this race last year after two decent efforts over a shorter trip so far this carnival. –Emma Berry


Wide Open Burj Nahaar

There are three Group 3s on the card, the first of which is the Burj Nahaar Sponsored By Smirates Skywards, where last year’s winner Desert Wisdom (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), trained by Ahmad Al Shemaili, defends his crown.

His rider Adrie De Vries said that Desert Wisdom (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) will need to be at his best to make it back-to-back wins.

“Desert Wisdom hasn’t been the same horse as last year,” he said. “Last time he was ridden quite positively after a bad start and when I rode him first time out he didn’t get a good run as well.”

He added, “Back at a mile, I wouldn’t count him out. I haven’t galloped him but I see him in the mornings and he looks really good in his coat. I was very lucky with him last year, with draws, and a nice run along the inside, so that is what I’m going to look for again.”

Desert Wisdom’s rivals include 2021 G2 Godolphin Mile winner Secret Ambition (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}), the mount of Tadhg O’Shea, while Doug Watson sends out three–Everfast (Take Charge Indy), Canvassed (Ire) (Shamardal) and Fanaar (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), who beat Secret Ambition in the G3 Jebel Ali Mile last time out. –Brian Sheerin


Seemar Has Three Chances In Mahab Al Shimaal

Trainer Bhupat Seemar will saddle a trio of runners in the G3 Mahab Al Shimaal Sponsored By Emirates Skycargo on Super Saturday. Leading the charge in the $250,000 1200-metre contest for the trainer is Dakki Stable’s Tuz (Oxbow), who defeated Isolate (Mark Valeski) by three lengths after leaving from the one post in the G3 Al Shindagha Sprint on Feb. 3.

“Tuz was very impressive in his last run, but he was drawn very favourably, in one,” said Bhupat Seemar, who has also entered RRR Racing’s Sound Money (Flatter) and Al Rashid Stables, LLC’s winning Western Symphony (Ire) (Shamardal). “He’s drawn 10 this time, but he has plenty of early speed, which is his asset. He might have to go fast and furious from 10 but this would be the plan.”

Added Seemar of Sound Money, who was placed in the GIII Westchester S. and GII True North S. in consecutive starts Stateside for Klaravich Stables and trainer Chad Brown and is making his Meydan debut, ” He stays a bit further but he has plenty of class and speed so he should not be far off in a six furlong [1200metre] race.”

Also sporting the black and orange silks of RRR Racing is the aforementioned Isolate, who is a dual stakes winner and took third in the 2020 GIII Nashua S. The 5-year-old was previously trained by Tom Amoss for Reeves Thoroughbred Racing.

Sayed Hashish’s Colour Up (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) has already won three of his six starts in the Emirates, and he enters off a runaway win in a track-and-trip handicap on Feb. 24. The Doug Watson trainee has been assigned post five. –Heather Anderson

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