Dubai: Malih Al Basti, the popular Dubai Racing Club (DRC) Board Member, is eyeing a big win at Newmarket’s July Meeting after supplementing his Dubai-winner Dandy Boy for the Group One Darley July Cup on Saturday.
Trained by former Dubai-based handler David Marnane, the six-year-old has been given the opportunity to challenge for a big purse following his inspiring victory in the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
The performance he produced when clocking a quicker time over the straight six furlongs than the great Black Caviar has encouraged Al Basti to supplement him for the feature race at a cost of £30,000 (Dh171,546).
Dandy Boy is a 20-1 shot with leading British bookmaker William Hill to make the jump from winning handicaps to the top flight in the six-furlong sprint.
Marnane, who saddled him to victory at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, was excited at the prospect of taking on some of the top sprinters on Saturday.
“He pleased us going into Ascot and has pleased us as much, if not more, since coming out of Ascot,” he said.
“We sat down and had a good chat, he won well at Ascot and we decided to take our chance.
“He’s been a phenomenal horse for us and to win a third big handicap like that in the manner he did shows what a good horse he is on his day.
“He’s a fragile horse and when they are right and well you have to take your chance.
“The ground was just good at Ascot, it was touch and go whether he would run because of softer ground but he’s a little bit older now and he is fragile so maybe he enjoys a bit of ease in the ground now. I think he moved better at Ascot on the slightly easier surface.”
The Tipperary trainer’s stable star marked himself out as a horse on the rise when springing a 33-1 surprise in the Wokingham Stakes at Ascot.
“He’s been a great horse for us, winning three premier handicaps in three different countries, and he pulled out of the race well and is as fresh as paint,” Marnane said.
The July Cup is one of Britain’s most valuable and prestigious sprint races, and many of its winners have been acknowledged as the champion sprinter in Europe. It is now the sixth leg of the Global Sprint Challenge series, preceded by the Golden Jubilee Stakes and followed by the Sprinters Stakes.
Another horse that has been supplemented to the 21-strong field was the Richard Hannon-trained Strong Suit, who is making his first start over 1,200m since finishing second to Dream Ahead in the Middle Park Stakes as a two-year-old.
The current favourite is Haydock’s Temple Stakes winner Bated Breath, who was second in the King’s Stand behind Little Bridge.
Trained by Roger Charlton he was an unlucky fifth to Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Hoof It and the Paul Messara-trained Australian raider Ortensia are other notables while Godolphin look set to run Sepoy and Soul.
Trained by Mahmoud Al Zarouni the son of Elusive Quality was well beaten in the Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan but his trainer has kept his faith.
“He’s a good horse and he’s back now,” Al Zarouni told Racing UK’s website. “When he arrived here [in Newmarket] he was a bit down. We gave him an easy time to recover. He has recovered and is in good form.
“He did a piece of work on Saturday and he’s showing that sort of form [as he did in Australia].
“I don’t know why he ran like he did at Meydan. The surface, or sometimes when they travel they get really down. It is long way to Dubai from Australia. That’s why I think he ran like he did.”