01/07/2014 3:43PM

Dubai World Cup Carnival begins with Maktoum Challenge


Thursday’s seven-race card, headed by Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge, marks the first of 11 programs – mostly Thursdays – at Meydan that comprise the Dubai World Cup Carnival. The Meydan season culminates March 29 with the Dubai World Cup program, which offers purses of $27.25 million.

The Maktoum Challenge, which goes as race 6 with a scheduled post of 11:25 a.m. Eastern, drew 10 entrants and matches the historic principals of recent World Cup Carnival meetings – trainer Mike de Kock and the powerful Godolphin operation. De Kock has two entrants in the Thursday feature, Daddy Long Legs and Rerouted, as does Godolphin, which sends out Steeler and Shuruq.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who topped the 2013 Carnival with 19 winners, sends out the 4-year-old filly Shuruq, who won the UAE Oaks last winter at Meydan. The 4-year-old Steeler, who missed the entire 2013 season, makes his Dubai debut for trainer Charlie Appleby, who starts his first Carnival horses as head trainer Thursday.

Appleby began training for Godolphin in July, following the dismissal of trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni after Zarooni admitted to administering steroids to England-based Godolphin horses in his care. Steeler was among the horses banned from competition earlier in the year because of positive drug tests, as was Artigiano, who is entered in the Singspiel Stakes on Thursday. Steeler and Artigiano are the first suspended Godolphin horses to return to competition.

The structure of the Godophin operation in Dubai, however, remains similar to that of years past, according to racing manager Simon Crisford. Bin Suroor and Appleby both have about 30 horses in training. Top Godolphin runners intended for group stakes at the Carnival include Certify, Hunter’s Light, African Story, Maputo, and Tasaday.

De Kock sent out 15 winners at the 2013 Carnival and can pick from a larger stable this year. Shea Shea, Soft Falling Rain, and The Apache all won major races for de Kock at the 2013 Carnival and are expected to see action again this year. De Kock also has several accomplished South African horses new to Dubai in his care, as well as Gale Force Ten, who was campaigned until late in 2013 by trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Silvestre De Sousa and Mickael Barzalona, Godolphin’s two main riders, topped the jockey standings during the 2013 Carnival and will surely be prominent again this year. Richard Hughes is expected to move his tack to Dubai sometime in February.

The Maktoum Challenge Round 1, carded for about one mile on the Tapeta main track, also includes last year’s winner, the 10-year-old Barbecue Eddie.

De Kock has two of the principals – Mushreq and David Livingston – in the 12-horse Singspiel, a turf race at about nine furlongs.

Héctor Lebrón More than 1 year ago
Handicapping is suppossed to be difficult. I was able to handicap the featured stakes and my selection is: Brendan Brackan(IRE). One of the things I like about the races in Dubai is that they allow Southern Hemisphere 3 year olds to compete. It's a great idea!
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Meydan is a first class racetrack.i have a hard time handicapping the races there with all the horses shipping in from all over the world.Even though i cant actually make a wager because of their laws,i find it easier to pay 12 dirham for a Ali Bin Baedeker tip sheet as i go in.
Don Wildermuth More than 1 year ago
It's so tough to handicap, but that's part of what makes it so much fun to watch and appreciate. I love our US racing but apparently we can't compete on this level - the results tell the story (Animal Kingdom excluded). It's still fun to watch the entire scene and if you can cash a ticket even better! Remember when the Japanese horses ran 1-2 two weeks after the tsunami couple years ago? That was awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There ra e a few American shippers and some of these horses may run on Breeders Cup day. As far as betting, you sure can bet these races through any horse racing online wagering system in the United States, such as TVG, Twinspires and Xpressbet. The purses are huge and many of the best trainers and horses from the southern hemisphere are entered.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Meet is just as good as the Breeders Cup from a betting point of view. Very hard to pick winners which means good payouts. Who had Monterosso in 2012. Love Dubai World Cup
Bob More than 1 year ago
Here we go with this fiasco again....The single DUMBEST idea that has EVER been introduced into the world of horse racing...i.e. shipping millions of dollars worth of horses halfway around the world to race at a track where you can't even place a WAGER! Brilliant........Absolutely BRILLIANT!
michael More than 1 year ago
Agreed, this meet gets way too much American press play. Who cares about middke east racing.
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
The World does.
Casey More than 1 year ago
Seriously? This racing is much better than the crap that is running here in the States right now. Hell, the all weather racing in England is better than the stateside winter racing. Some of the best horses in the world are showing up for the Dubai Carnival meeting, and the vast majority of them aren't "middle east horses"...there's a lot more to horse racing than what goes on in the US.
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
Spot on. Very well said.
Cameron More than 1 year ago
Why did you click on the article, then?
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
the racing during the carnival and the facility's put ours to shame thats just a fact.and you know the jockeys are all trying to win unlike racing in new york.
Bugsy Anderson More than 1 year ago
No race fixing there
Andres More than 1 year ago
Go to Dubai Bob As
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
I guess you don't own a computer. If you did you would not have any problem betting the Dubai World Cup