02/13/2018 1:08PM

El Chapo, Gold Town head UAE 2000 Guineas

Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Gold Town wins the first division of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial in January.

The three-time winners El Chapo and Gold Town will start in a stakes on dirt for the first time in Thursday’s Group 3 United Arab Emirates 2000 Guineas at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

The $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas, run at about a mile, could produce a few starters for the $2 million UAE Derby on March 31, part of the undercard of the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

The UAE 2000 Guineas is part of a six-race program that begins at 10:05 a.m. Eastern. The UAE Guineas has a post time of 11:50 a.m. Eastern.

Gold Town is one of three runners in a field of 15 owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing. The stable also runs Last Voyage, a maiden race winner on turf in England last year, and the maiden Racing Country.

Gold Town, a gelding by Street Cry, has won 3 of 7 starts for trainer Charlie Appleby. He won a minor handicap at Newmarket, England, last August. He also won his first start in Dubai, and on dirt, in an allowance race at seven furlongs Jan. 25 at Meydan – the first division of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial.

Gold Town was seventh in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot last June. He was gelded in the weeks after that race.

William Buick rode Gold Town to win that race by 4 1/4 lengths by leading throughout. Buick retains the mount Thursday. Roland Rocks and Roy Orbison were second and third in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial and are part of Thursday’s field.

El Chapo, a British-bred gelding by Lethal Force, is on a three-race winning streak – two minor races at Catterick Bridge racecourse in England last September and October and the second division of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial allowance race on Jan. 25.

El Chapo stalked the pace in the Jan. 25 race and won by a half-length over pacesetter Racing Country. The UAE 2000 Guineas Trial was El Chapo’s first start for trainer Fawzi Abdulla Nass. Thursday’s race will be El Chapo’s debut in a stakes.

There are six Kentucky-breds in the field – Daffg, Gotti, Last Voyage, Loyal Soldier, Meqdaam, and Rua Augusta. Last Voyage was purchased for $335,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale of 2-year-olds in training.