03/24/2016 12:56PM

Godolphin has them coming or going in Dubai Turf

Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Tryster, owned by Godolphin, will put his powerful late punch on display in the Dubai Turf on Saturday.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Godolphin from the front or Godolphin from behind?

That could prove the pivotal question Saturday in the $6 million Dubai Turf, in which Godolphin horses could be racing first and last in the early stages of the 1 1/8-mile grass race.

The filly Very Special – one of only two runners on the card for Saeed bin Suroor, who has won more World Cup card races than any trainer – has scored consecutive gate-to-wire victories at this meet, including a decisive score over 2014 Beverly D. winner Euro Charline last out in the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes. The closer is Tryster, the favorite, who awed English onlookers with last-to-first moves on the all-weather circuit in 2015 before transferring that form to the Meydan turf in two powerful victories this winter.

There’s also a possible middle road to the Dubai Turf in Intilaaq, who was rerouted here from his initial target, the World Cup, in part because this race last week lost its defending champion and heavy favorite, Solow, to injury.

“When Solow came out, it gave the Dubai Turf a different look,” said Intilaaq’s trainer, Roger Varian. “I wouldn’t say it’s the only reason we’re in the race, but it tipped the balance.”

There are others with a chance, too, notably Forries Waltz for trainer Mike de Kock, the Japanese horse Real Steel, and Euro Charline, who should improve in her second start this season. Among the entrants is the California shipper Flamboyant, whose career-best form probably still isn’t good enough for this group.

Tryster, a 5-year-old gelding trained by Charlie Appleby, never showed form like he’s displayed this winter on English grass courses and might have excelled on all-weather tracks not because of the surface itself but because he prefers a flat, neat, oval track – like Meydan’s. Jockey William Buick called him his best chance among four rides Saturday night, including Frosted in the World Cup.

“I’ve never ridden a horse with a turn of foot like his,” Buick said.

Very Special has dictated the pace in her two stakes wins this winter, both against females. Under James Doyle, Very Special opened a big lead in the Balanchine and maintained it over the high-quality Euro Charline, a better horse, in fact, than anything Tryster has beaten here.

Intilaaq is more promise than accomplishment as of now. Varian said a two-week turnaround last spring after a sharp first-out win undid the colt in the English 2000 Guineas, and after an encouraging win Aug. 8 in the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes, he was put away before the ground in England went soft.

“He has speed, and I’m quite sure he’s a fast-ground horse,” Varian said.

Intilaaq will have to be, and even if promise turns into production Saturday, Godolphin might have his number, with Very Special to the front of him and Tryster to the rear.