where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-01-24 11:13:08  
Mawj is Back on Terrific Meydan Card

As the first Dubai Racing Carnival graduate to win the G1 1000 Guineas in Newmarket, Godolphin filly Mawj deserves top billing on ‘Fashion Friday.’

Horses from six counties clash on the all-Stakes card which features three Group 1s and Mawj (pictured) faces eight rivals in the G1 Jebel Hatta [Presented by Longines], race seven. In fine form since winning twice at last year’s Carnival, the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained filly added the G1 Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Keeneland to her top-level exploits and missed out on winning the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile by a nose.

“Mawj arrived in Dubai after the Breeders’ Cup and had a bit of an easy time,” said Bin Suroor, who last won this race in 2019 with Dream Castle. “She’s doing well and I’m happy with her. After this the plan is the Dubai Turf and then we will take her back to Europe.”

Doug Watson’s San Donato looked very good in winning the G2 Zabeel Mile last time out and he steps up in trip here, as does El Patriota, third to him that day. The six-year-old is trained by Julio Olascoaga who said: “He earned the chance to run this race after his good result last time out. The opposition cannot be stronger but we’re confident he will continue to run big.”

An international line-up includes the Richard Fahey-trained Spirit Dancer, winner of the G2 Bahrain Trophy in November, while the exciting Measured Time, a facile winner over course and distance last time out, looks the pick of three in the race for Charlie Appleby, who also runs Highland Avenue and Ottoman Fleet.

The day’s official feature is the AED3.6million G1 Maktoum Challenge, a prep race for the Dubai World Cup on March 30th. Trainer Chad Summers has a perfect record at Meydan Racecourse thanks to two Dubai Golden Shaheen wins with Mind Your Biscuits and he saddles Grade 2 Lukas Classic winner Clapton, the mount of Antonio Fresu, who was last seen in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“We think that maybe he didn’t like being on the inside,” said Summers of the eleventh place showing at Santa Anita. “When he’s inside horses he feels like he’s running in quicksand. He’s such a big horse that we’d like him to really get into his rhythm and if we lose a little bit of ground, that’s OK.

“We hope they’ll go an honest enough pace. First Constitution should make the pace and hopefully that will set it up for us to come with a big run. We’re adding blinkers for this race, too.”

The sole Group 1 winner in the race is Atletico El Culano, who warmed up for this with a narrow victory over the re-opposing Military Law in the Listed Entisar Stakes. He breaks from post 12, but trainer Olascoaga is hopeful of another big run.

“He’s doing well after his win in The Entisar,” he said. “Jockey and regular rider Jose Da Silva is happy the way he’s going in these last weeks. It will be all about the pace and timing for his run in the end.”

One of the most exciting runners is Watson’s Kabirkhan, who returns two weeks after his impressive handicap success on local debut, while Mimi Kakushi is the only filly in the race, for trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer. 

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