01/11/2011 4:43PM

Godolphin has three for Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge


The Dubai Racing Carnival gets under way at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night with a competitive renewal of Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge, a one-mile Group 3 contest on the Tapeta synthetic surface worth $200,000.

Last year’s contest was won by eventual Dubai World Cup winner Gloria de Campeao, so the 14 runners have some reason to be optimistic. Godolphin will saddle three in Colonial, a former Andre Fabre inmate who won a pair of listed miles in France last year; Frozen Power, last year’s UAE 2000 Guineas runner-up who later won the German 2000 Guineas; and Storm Ultralight, an improving Argentine-bred who beat two-time Group 3 winner Tazeez in a one-mile allowance on the Lingfield Polytrack by 3 3/4 lengths two back in April.

Saeed bin Suroor saddles Colonial as well as the dangerous, lightly raced Mendip for Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. The Harlan’s Holiday 4-year-old won the first three outings of his career on the Kempton Polytrack and the Meydan Tapeta, landing the listed, 1 3/16-mile Al Bastakiya by 6 1/4 lengths before finishing a disappointing third in the UAE Derby. This is his first race since then, and he will be ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Mike de Kock will send out course specialist Mr Brock, who was a length third behind Red Desire and Gloria de Campeao in Round 3 of the 1 1/4-mile Maktoum Challenge last year. His stablemate Imbongi, winner here last winter of the Group 2 Zabeel Mile and third in the Dubai Duty Free, tries a synthetic surface for the first time. Sea Lord, formerly with Mark Johnston but now trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, looms large if he can repeat his winning effort in Salisbury’s one-mile Group 3 Sovereign Stakes in August. The selection is Colonial.

On the undercard, a pair of South African juvenile Group 1 winners, Chocolicius and Mahbooba, will battle it out in the seven-furlong UAE 1000 Guineas Trial.