Dubai: UAE-owned horses have a decidedly strong hand in this ultra-tough renewal of the $6 million Group 1 Dubai Turf, the joint richest turf race in the world together with the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, with Godolphin’s Tryster and the Roger Varian-trained Intilaaq looking the ones to beat.
Following the withdrawal of the reigning champion Solow due to injury, the race has become more open despite the overwhelming presence of the aforementioned duo, with no less than five horses in with solid chances.
Former all-weather star Tryster represents Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby who is confident that his trainee who deliver the best performance of his career and secure for him a much sought after first victory at the Dubai World Cup meeting.
“We thought he would be a Dubai World Cup horse,” said Appleby. “But he could not use that amazing turn of foot out of the dirt so went the turf route. He has been amazing in both starts this year, so fingers crossed he can continue on Saturday.”
“We’ve been happy with his preparations so far. It’s more of the race start that will fully change for him. It will be the usual hold-up start but we expect him to come out stronger.
“He has been maturing all the time and has developed his strength. I think he is looking so much more of a horse that is capable of dealing with everything on a big night like this. He has been here twice already, so he has this advantage in his favour.”
William Buick concurs with: “I have ridden plenty of top horses but this fellow has an amazing turn of foot. His acceleration is remarkable and a truly potent weapon.”
South African handler Mike de Kock won this race in consecutive years with Ipi Tobme and Right Approach and saddles Ertijaal, third to Tryster on Super Saturday, and Forries Waltz who has simply thrived at Meydan posting two wins including a hugely impressive victory in the Group 2 Al Rashidiya.
“I think we are running for second! Tryster looks a different class on what we have seen; he quickens off a slow pace and then did the same off a stronger gallop,” De Kock acknowledged.
“He will be very hard to beat but we have two nice horses. Ertijaal will run another solid race but Forries Waltz, who we have freshened up, after his two early Carnival wins, may be our best chance.”
Intilaaq will bid to give multiple-champion UAE owner Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, a second success in the race since Altibr triumphed in 1999
Havingswapped targets from the Dubai World Cup less than two weeks ago he has emerged as the main horse to test Tryster’s rapidly growing star appeal.
“We were aiming towards the Dubai World Cup and had prepared him for that in the UK but the Dubai Turf opened up when Solow came out and Sheikh Hamdan felt that this was the right race for him,” said his Newmarket-based handler Roger Varian.
“All five of his career runs have been on turf, so he knows all about that and the World Cup would have been something entirely different. There is always next year though, and he could run in the World Cup in 12 months’ time.”
Papanese raider Real Steel, Godolphin’s second runner Very Special, the Marco Botti-trained Euro Charline and David Simcock’s The Corsican, winner of the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (Registered As The Arc Trial) last September.
3. Forries Waltz