Dubai The $1 million (Dh3.67 million) Godolphin Mile (G1) has a local feel this year with seven of the ten runners trained in the UAE.
The handicapper has them all very closely matched on official figures with only four pounds difference in their ratings and this makes for a very difficult race to predict and a very exciting spectacle.
Godolphin are without doubt the most successful owners in the race that shared their name and the world famous racing operation are represented by one of their USA trained horses here in Marking.
Trained like their Dubai World Cup horse Frosted by Kiaran McLaughlin, this horse has not just come over as a lead horse but has a great chance having been the runner-up in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes with his most recent run being a smooth success here at Meydan. He will certainly be at the business end of this race.
A horse who was second in the UAE Derby last year was Maftool. Subsequently he has switched yards to the powerful local Musabah Al Muhairi yard who are attempting to win this race for the second year in a row following Tamarkuz’s victory in the race last year. Maftool has had one run for his new connections where he ran a great trial for this, seeing off another of today’s rivals in Cool Cowboy and he looks to be the one to beat. The son of Hard Spun will enjoy the assistance of his first jockey in Paul Hanagan who is in excellent form.
The aforementioned Cool Cowboy is trained like Faulkner and One Man Band by the UAE champion trainer Doug Watson and he holds a strong hand in the renewal with three horses who have all thrived on the dirt track since it has been relayed at Meydan. Like so many of his string, they have run with credit throughout the year. Cool Cowboy looks to be the pick of the lot and is the mount of Pat Dobbs, but Faulkner and One Man Band are not here to make up numbers and will be big players in their own right.
Another international horse is Sloane Avenue who is trained in Newmarket (UK) by Jeremy Noseda who is a master with such international horses. Beaten in this race by only a short head last year, he is back for another crack and this looks a tougher renewal. but do not be surprised to see him putting up a bold show. He looks like a great chance to get Frankie Detorri back in the winner’s enclosure after a two year hiatus.
Le Bernadin is sure to come to the fore in the early stages for Ali Rashid Al Raihe and the newly-crowned UAE Champion Jockey Tadgh O’Shea and should not be written off. Gold City for Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen has finished closer than anything else in the UAE to Frosted and on this form should be respected. God’s Speed could be anything and following his recent runs in Saudi Arabia looks one to ignore at your peril. Prayer For Relief should put up another bold show for his Maestro South African trainer Mike de Kock, but others are preferred here.
This is a superb renewal and we are selecting Maftool to follow up on his recent top run to deny Sloane Avenue and Marking and win back-to-back Godolphin Miles for his team.