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Posted 2024-06-05 21:50:06  
Dubai Carnival Stars head to Belmont at Saratoga

The 2024 Dubai Racing Carnival might be consigned to a glorious memory but several of its runners will aim to make headlines this weekend at the Belmont Stakes festival in America.

Staged this year at Saratoga Racetrack in upstate New York, six Grade 1s will be held on Saturday alone, but the action for Dubai racing fans gets underway on Thursday, when Siskany defends the G2 Belmont Gold Cup.

Winner of the G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy before finishing fourth in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup, Charlie Appleby’s six-year-old aims for a repeat win in the two-mile turf contest, which this year offers ‘Golden Ticket’ entry to the Melbourne Cup, at Flemington in November.

Earlier on, Thursday’s card features the belated US debut of Manama Gold, who is unbeaten in three starts, all at Meydan, including the G3 UAE Oaks. Now trained by Todd Pletcher for owners Victorious, the daughter of Star Guitar bypassed a mooted run in the Kentucky Oaks and instead heads to the Jersey Girl Stakes, where she will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

On Friday, G2 Balanchine winner English Rose faces 12 rivals in the G1 New York Stakes. Second in the G1 Jenny Wiley last time out, the Frankel filly is up against multiple G1 winner War Like Goddess in the 1900metre contest.

"English Rose had a nice solid first run at Keeneland in the Jenny Wiley," Appleby said. "She had good form this winter in Dubai, winning the Balanchine."

Saturday’s action features a plethora of stars, including Godolphin globetrotter Nations Pride, who takes on stablemate Measured Time (pictured) in the G1 Manhattan Stakes.

A winner three times at the top level including at Saratoga, Nations Pride will be ridden by Frankie Dettori on Saturday. Chris Connett, who has been overseeing the gelding’s progress in New York, gave an upbeat bulletin.

"He has been off the track for a long time before his last start at Aqueduct [third in the G3 Man O’War] and he's come forward from that fitness-wise,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep the freshness out of him. He's matured and filled out. He's not a massive horse, but he's quality and has proved that he can handle the track.”

Of William Buick’s mount Measured Time, winner of the G1 Jebel Hatta at Meydan, he added: "His (work) rider Michael Metcalf has been happy with him since he settled in and the horse has taken in his surroundings very well. I think good, safe ground is what we prefer.”

There’s another clash of Carnival winners earlier on the card when Star Of Mystery faces Mischief Magic in the G1 Jaipur Stakes, over 1100metres on Turf. A winner twice at the Carnival, Star Of Mystery was last seen finishing second in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint. She will be ridden by Flavien Prat, with Buick on Listed Dubai Sprint winner Mischief Magic.

It's a while since 2023 Dubai World Cup sixth Bendoog has been seen in Dubai but the Mohammed Khaleel Ahmed-owned five-year-old takes his shot at G2 glory in the Suburban Stakes over 2000metres. Formerly trained by Bhupat Seemar, Bendoog has won his last two starts in the US for Bill Mott and faces seven rivals, including Dubai World Cup tenth Crupi.

Another Mott trainee is much-loved eight-year-old Casa Creed, who finished sixth in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint. His seven rivals include Appleby’s G2 Al Fahidi Fort winner Mysterious Night, who has enjoyed a break since running in Riyadh last time. He will be hard to beat if recapturing the very best of his form, which saw him win the G1 Summer Stakes in Canada as a juvenile.

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