02/21/2012 3:41PM

Dubai: Pimpernel in good form for UAE Oaks at Meydan


Pimpernel, a stakes winner in England last fall, is the leading contender in Thursday’s $250,000 United Arab Emirates Oaks at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

Owned by Godolphin and trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, Pimpernel was second in the UAE 1000 Guineas earlier this month behind Gamilati. An Irish-bred by Invincible Spirit, Pimpernel won the totepool Stakes at Newbury, England, last fall. Frankie Dettori has the mount on Thursday.

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The UAE Oaks is run over about 1 3/16 miles on turf, and drew only six entrants, including the third- through sixth-place finishers in the UAE 1000 Guineas – Alsindi, Moon Spun, Colorful Notion, and Mary Fildes.

Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin stable also starts Falls of Lora, an Irish-bred Street Cry filly who was fifth in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp last October, her most recent start. Falls of Lora is trained by Al Zarooni.

The race preceding the UAE Oaks on the six-race Meydan program is the $150,000 Meydan Classic for 3-year-olds over about a mile on turf.

Entifaadha, the winner of the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York last August and third in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last September, makes his first start of the year in a field of 12. Owned by Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum and trained by William Haggas, Entifaadha has not started since finishing fifth of 16 in the Tattersalls Million 2-year-old Trophy at Newmarket, England, last October.

Other contenders are Factory Time, Kenny Powers and Fiscal – the first three finishers of the Meydan Classic Trial on Feb. 3 – and Matusalen, a Spanish-bred colt who won three races at La Zarzuela and San Sebastian in Spain last year but has yet to start this season.