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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 06/02/2014

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) UAE debutant Ihtimal leads Godolphin trio in the UAE in the UAE 1000 Guineas (Listed) which is contested over a mile on the tapieta surface at Meydan on Thursday.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by Silvestre De Souza, the three-year-old home-bred daughter of former champions Shamardal has never finished out of the top three in her six starts in Europe. Ihtimal has won a Group-2 and Group-3 events besides a close third to Chriselliam in the Shadwell Fillies' Mile Gr-1 at Newmarket, UK last September.

Saeed bin Suroor said: "Ihtimal won a Group Two at Doncaster last season and has been working well. She is a tiny filly but has been showing some nice speed at home. She handles Tapeta well in the mornings and is ready to go."

Lovely Pass has won this title for Godolphin last season under Ahmed Ajtebi and Ihtimal looks good to win it for the boys in blue on her first appearance of the year following an excellent two-year-old campaign.

Charlie Appleby saddles Wedding Ring and Feedyah in the race and said: "Wedding Ring steps up in distance a comfortable victory in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial over seven furlongs last time out, and there is a slight question mark over her staying a mile. Hopefully, she will be bang there again, particularly if they go steady and we can utilise her turn of foot."

"Feedyah won the same race at Ascot that Lovely Pass did before capturing the UAE 1000 Guineas last year, so we are treading the same path. She won her maiden on Polytrack at Kempton Park and has been really pleasing me at home.

"We are looking for a nice run from her this week, with the aim of stepping her up in trip for the UAE Oaks at the end of the month."

Godolphin is also well represented in the 1,900m Al Maktoum Challenge R-2 (Group-2) with African Story looks the stable's pick to retain the title which was won by Hunter's Light last season.

A previous winner of the Godolphin Mile Group-2 under Frankie Dettori, the seven-year-old son of Pivotal may not face a strong opposition on the account of his strong run behind Animal Kingdom in the 2013 Dubai World Cup Group-1 over a mile and a quarter.

The only genuine threat could come from the UAE debutant Battle Of Marengo. Frankie Dettori will be in the saddle of the Galileo colt that was narrowly beaten by Ruler of the World in the 2013 Epsom Derby.

Trainer Sean Tarry has secured the services of the top Irish jockey Richard Hughes for his South African raider Heavy Metal.

The Arabian version of the Al Maktoum Challenge, is a Group-1 event which will be contested over 11 furlongs with front runner Albar Lotois the obvious favourite to win the title for the new connections.

Top weight Star Empire has every chance to win the fifth race for the South African trainer Mike De Kock with Certerach and Tanfeeth the immediate danger.

 






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