01/27/2009 12:00AM

Kirklees tunes up for Duty Free


Kirklees, Godolphin's lightly raced 5-year-old, is well spotted for victory at Nad Al Sheba in Thursday night's Grade 3, $200,000 Al Rashidiya, a 1 1/8-mile prep for the Dubai Duty Free.

The winner of Italy's Group 1 Gran Criterium as a 2-year-old when trained by Mark Johnston, Kirklees has had only four races since then and only 10 lifetime. At 3, he won both of his starts for Saeed bin Suroor, the second a 10-furlong listed race at Goodwood. Last year, he was third in a Group 3 and second in a listed race, both at Newmarket.

His former Godolphin stablemate With Interest, twice a handicap winner on the Nad Al Sheba turf last winter, beat Kirklees last time when winning the James Seymour Stakes on Nov. 1.

Herman Brown saddles Oracle West, the runner-up in the 2007 Dubai Sheema Classic who has not run since finishing 13th in that same 1 1/2-mile race last March. Brown also has Traffic Guard, whose best effort came when second to European Horse of the Year New Approach in last September's Irish Champion.

Mike de Kock has hopes for Silver Mist, a one-mile handicap winner locally on Jan. 15, and Hunting Tower, the winner in 2007 of South Africa's best race, the Durban July Cup.