Dubai: The form of Tamarkuz is at the centre of Saturday’s Godolphin Mile. His great form this season has seen him prosper with bloodless victories in the Burj Nahaar and the Firebreak Stakes and he looks like he will be more than comfortable at Group 2 level.
It is important he breaks well and he should do from the rail draw. He is trained by the newly crowned UAE Champion Trainer Musabah Al Muhairi and looks the pick of his two in the race. Nolohay is the second string and he could well feature as well.
“Both of ours are course and distance winners,” said Al Muhairi. “We have been lucky with the draw for both of them and hopefully they will run big races.”
There are plenty of serious challengers among the 16-strong field, including Frankyfourfingers, who represents rookie trainer Salim Bin Ghadayer. A winner of the Maktoum Challenge Round 2 here at Meydan, he certainly has the class to win at this level and, providing he has the speed to stay with them early on, he should be a major player.
The Dubai World Cup Carnival enjoys a series of trial races and one horse that has really prospered is Dark Emerald. He has won a couple and been second twice and has gone from strength to strength — his recent second in the Zabeel Mile shows he is more than capable of causing an upset. His trainer Brendan Powell has been in tears after his victories this season and, with luck in running, those tears could be flowing again on the big day.
Surfer is a real local favourite and has been campaigned very sparingly this season, with this race long being the target.
He won the Maktoum Challenge Round 1, beating Frankyfourfingers over course and distance, before that form was reversed over a slightly longer trip the next time.
But trainer Satish Seemar was left to bemoan the fact Surfer has been drawn all the way out at gate 16. “If any horse deserves a decent draw it is Surfer. He has been so unlucky with draws so many times. We have to hope, but it will be little short of a miracle if he was to win from there,” Seemar said.
Seemar is also represented by Gold City and stable apprentice Marc Monaghan takes the ride. He is a far from forlorn hope in this following some good performances and it would be no surprise if he was able to run in to a place.
Sloane Avenue is another exciting prospect coming in to this race and his form in beating subsequent two-time Group 2 winner Cladocera really gives him a chance in this field.
Trained by Jeremy Noseda, Sloane Avenue bids to end the Meydan drought for Frankie Dettori and it would be no surprise if he managed it, although the draw could be a factor.
One horse who has been given a plumb draw is Bradestar. This American challenger is a genuine mile performer and he is mightily consistent. It would be no great surprise to see the US flags flying again with this one winning.
With a better draw, Layl would have been fancied to run a huge race for an outsider at a price. Doug Watson has had a top season here, finishing runner-up to Al Muhairi, and Layl has really progressed, but he will start this race from stall 14.
If Tamarkuz breaks well, he looks the winner, while Surfer is sure to mount a strong challenge and Sloane Avenue looking a possible for third.
— The writer is a freelance journalist and horseracing expert