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Brave Brits take on Godolphin in Cape Verdi

You only have to go back two years to find Pevensey Bay (pictured), the last overseas winner of the G2 Cape Verdi, and two more Europeans are aiming to follow in her hoofprints on Friday.

The AED800,000 mile turf feature of the seventh Dubai Carnival meeting has attracted a field of 10, including two from the UK; Mystic Pearl and Stenton Glider. The two four-year-olds, trained by William Haggas and Hugo Palmer, respectively, have met before, finishing one-two in the Listed Coral Distaff at Sandown in July.

“This has been the target since she disappointed at Haydock [in August],” said Palmer of Stenton Glider. “She’s had a break since then, the first real break of her life. She’s grown and strengthened, filled out, and is a much stronger filly now.

“She’s taken to Dubai really well; she’s trained super and been very relaxed, so we hope she can run a very big race.”

Charlie Appleby has won the Cape Verdi a record five times, including last year with With The Moonlight, and he saddles three; English Rose, Silver Lady and Shining Jewel. The former is the pick of William Buick and is unbeaten in her two starts to date, most recently winning at Kempton by two and a half lengths.

Shining Jewel, the mount of Richie Mullen, arrives in good form, having won two of her four starts, while Silver Lady, to be ridden by Mickael Barzalona, won on debut before stepping up to Listed and Group company.

“Shining Jewel is a nice spare to get,” said Mullen. “She won her last two starts and looks like she’s improving. I had a sit on her the other day and she’s a lovely big filly by Siyouni and I think she’ll get further in time, as well.

“Obviously English Rose looks the pick of them, but they’re all unexposed horses. The William Haggas filly [Mystic Pearl] brings the best form into it.”

Trainer Ismail Mohammed went close to a winner last week and he sends out Nibras Angel, third over course and distance on her UAE debut two weeks ago. She will be ridden by Adrie De Vries who said: “She ran OK in a handicap last time, but she’s stepping up in class, so it’s going to be tough.”

Gold to Sparkle on the Beach?

Manama Gold has been one of the more striking debutants of the Carnival so far thanks to her two and a half-length romp a month ago, and Fawzi Nass’s filly looks the one to beat in the AED300,000 Cocoa Beach Stakes, over a mile on dirt.

“She’s got a good enough draw [6] and is in better condition than last time,” said jockey De Vries. “She’s really going through her coat now and is nice and relaxed after that race, which I think is a good sign.

“She’s moving really well and I’m looking forward to her. [Nass's] other filly in the race, Lightning Paradise, is working well and the extra furlong will help.”

The Nass pair face eight rivals, including dual winner Wild Goddess, a rare Appleby dirt runner, and Mizzyaan, an intriguing debutante from the Doug Watson yard.

By top sire Justify, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum homebred is a daughter of Vale Dori, who went on to G1 success in the States after finishing second in the 2016 G3 UAE Oaks at Meydan.

“She’s a lovely filly,” said Watson. “But there was no fillies’ maiden for her so we don’t know if she’s in over her head here. She’s very talented and works really well, but she’s still got some maturing to do. Hopefully she runs well, but it’s a big question mark.”

Lahfaty, an impressive maiden winner, blotted her copybook last time out when beaten 22 lengths by Manama Gold, but trainer Michael Costa is hopeful extra work at home can see her turn that around.

“We did some work with kick back and also applied blinkers and a nose roll,” said the UAE Trainers’ Championship leader. “If she races like she worked this week at Meydan she will bounce back.&rdquo

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