Updated on 03/05/2015 4:25PM

Frankyfourfingers, Prince Bishop get rematch in Dubai

Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Frankyfourfingers wins the Al Maktoum Challenge on Feb. 5 at Meydan.

The Group 1, $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 highlights the so-called Super Saturday card on Saturday evening at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. And for whoever wins, victory is likely to be the highlight of their Dubai campaign in 2015.

The Al Maktoum Challenge is the last in a series of older-male dirt stakes at Meydan, and as the zenith of that trio of races, it functions just fine, but as a potential prep for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 28, the race should prove lacking.

On the old Meydan all-weather surface, the Maktoum Challenge races could be seen as legitimate lead-ins to the World Cup, but on the new dirt track, American-based horses will have an edge, and nothing about Rounds 1 and 2 of the Maktoum challenge suggests otherwise. Surfer, who won Round 1, isn’t in Saturday’s race, while Frankyfourfingers, the narrow Round 2 winner, has a long ways to go to prove anything close to top class on dirt. In Round 2, he beat Prince Bishop, who was making his first start since September and should have more room to improve Saturday than Frankyfourfingers.

African Story, the admirable 2014 World Cup winner, almost seems like an afterthought. An all-weather specialist, he made his dirt debut in Round 2 and never was a factor, and forecasting more than moderate improvement from this 8-year-old on Saturday seems imprudent.

:: MEYDAN: Get PPs, watch Saturday’s card live

The race marks the Dubai debut of the expatriate American horse Long River, whose high-water mark in 2014 was a third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. And that high-water mark is high enough that if ready for something close to his best by the obscure former endurance-horse trainer Salem bin Ghadayer, Long River could be very competitive.

The Al Maktoum Challenge, race 7 on the card, is the sixth of seven Thoroughbred races carded. Post time for the feature is 10:35 a.m. Eastern, with the first Thoroughbred race on the card going at 7:35 Eastern.

Vercingetorix in Jebel Hatta

The other Group 1 race on the card, the $300,000 Jebel Hatta, is a more proper Group 1, featuring a showdown between Vercingetorix and Hunter’s Light.

A prep for the Dubai Turf (formerly the Duty Free), the Jebel Hatta is contested over about 1 1/8 miles on grass and drew a field of 12, but Vercingetorix and Hunter’s Light stand out, with Trade Storm the third-best horse in the race.

Vercingetorix finished second in the 2014 Duty Free, while Hunter’s Light was 10th in the race – which suggests that Hunter’s Light could be the better-meant runner Saturday. Vercingetorix won his first start of the winter last month, and as a serious contender in a $6 million race three weeks hence, there’s no chance his connections have pushed hard for the Jebel Hatta. A Super Saturday win, however, would be a feather in the cap of the 7-year-old Hunter’s Light, who is 2 for 2 on the Meydan turf this winter.

Trade Storm, who won the Woodbine Mile last fall, has had his Meydan moments but has always run better in his second start in Dubai than his first.

No Maftool in Mubtaahij’s way

Mubtaahij continues his progress toward a potential start in the Kentucky Derby when he races in the $250,000 Al Bastikiya, a 1 3/16-mile dirt race for Northern Hemisphere 3-year-olds and Southern Hemisphere 4-year-olds.

Mubtaahij, trained by Mike de Kock, has traded decisions this winter with Godolphin’s Maftool, who beat Mubtaahij by a head last out in the UAE 2000 Guineas. But Maftool’s connections are passing this race, waiting for the UAE Derby, and Mubtaahij, who came back on gamely late in the UAE 2000 Guineas after being passed in upper stretch, could do well in his first start beyond one mile.

Godolphin’s big player this time is the Uruguayan import Sir Fever, a son of Texas Fever who has compiled a 10 for 10 record while beating up on questionable competition.

Sheikhzayedroad in City of Gold

Sheikhzayedroad, who won the Northern Dancer at Woodbine last fall, makes his first start since a sixth-place finish in the Group 1 Champion Stakes last October at Newmarket when he races in the Group 2, $250,000 City of Gold, a 12-furlong turf prep for the $5 million Sheema Classic.

True Story, Songcraft, Sky Hunter, and Umgiyo all can contend if, as seems likely, Sheikhzayedroad needs his comeback run, but the pick for a minor upset is Cooptado, who goes dirt to turf for trainer Doug Watson, who is having a strong World Cup Carnival.

◗ The Mahab Al Shimaal, a prep for the Golden Shaheen, marks the Dubai debut of Cool Cowboy, who was last seen in November winning a Mountaineer Park sprint stakes for trainer Dale Bennett.

◗ The Meydan Sprint, a five-furlong turf dash, is among the deeper races on the card. Sole Power, Ahtoug, Via Africa, and Casper Netscher are among the entrants.

◗ Tamarkuz was a sharp winner in two dirt races this winter and will be favored to win another in the $200,000 Burj Nahaar, a prep for the Godolphin Mile.

A previous version of this article misstated the purse of the Dubai Turf. It is $6 million, not $5 million. Also, the distance of the race is 1 1/8 miles, not 1 1/18 miles.