Four Star Grad Keen Ice in Meydan Group 1

Reprinted from TDN Europe

This weekend’s ‘Super Saturday’ program at Meydan Racecourse looks set to feature top horses from the United States, Britain, France, Ireland, Hong Kong and even Saudi Arabia following the release of declarations Monday.

Super Saturday features seven course-and-distance preps for Dubai World Cup night Mar. 26, six group events and the Listed Al Bastakiya S. for sophomores headed towards the G2 UAE Derby. The lone World Cup event without an official lead-up race at the weekend is the G2 Dubai Gold Cup (3200mT).

Of Saturday’s seven races, two are Group 1s, headed by the $400,000 Maktoum Challenge R3. With American gallopers Frosted (Tapit) and 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) already having raced and won at the Carnival, Donegal Racing’s Keen Ice (Curlin) is the evening’s highest-rated entrant, largely based on his defeat of Triple Crown hero and 2015 American HOTY American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) in last year’s GI Travers S. He is winless in three starts since and exits an even sixth in the GI Donn H. Feb. 6. Mubtaahij (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) needs to improve off a fourth behind Confrontation (War Pass) in the G3 Firebreak S. Feb. 4, while an interesting new shooter is Hong Kong dirt demon Gun Pit (Aus) (Dubawi {Ire}), who wil have the services of leading rider Joao Moreira. And as reported by Steve Sherack, ‘TDN Rising Star’ Watershed (Bernardini) is also on trial for the World Cup in the Maktoum Challenge.

The night’s second top-level heat is the Jebel Hatta, the prep for the G1 Dubai Turf, and is led by Godolphin’s Tryster (Ire) (Shamardal), who turned in one of the Carnivals most impressive efforts when taking out the G3 Dubai Millennium S. over 2000 grassy meters Feb. 18. Harry’s Son (Aus) (Haradasun {Aus}) could make his third Carnival appearance, while G1 Cape Derby hero Ertijaal (Aus) (Hard Spun) is set for a return to grass after flopping on the dirt in a Feb. 18 handicap.

Postponed (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), last year’s G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth S. upsetter, looks set to make his first start since annexing the G2 Prix Foy last September and first for trainer Roger Varian in the G2 Dubai City of Gold (2410mT). The race is also likely to attract its 2015 runner-up Sheikhzayedroad (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), while the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained/Aga Khan-owned Dariyan (Fr) (Shamardal)–the son of Daryakana (Fr) (Selkirk)–could make his 4-year-old bow.
One of the more intriguing Super Saturday declarations comes from Saudi Arabia in the form of Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdulaziz’s Teletext (Empire Maker). Group 1-placed in France at three for his breeder Khalid Abdullah and trainer Pascal Bary, the 5-year-old could scarcely have been more impressive in his latest, a 5 1/2-length romp in the King’s Cup in Riyadh Feb. 13 (VIDEO). Teletext was given entries in both the Maktoum Challenge and the City of Gold.

Sole Power (GB) (Kyllachy {GB}) gears up for a remarkable sixth straight crack at the G1 Al Quoz Sprint–a race he won at age eight in 2015–in the G3 Meydan Sprint. In the 1000-metre test, he could hook up with Godolphin’s Goldream (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), last seen annexing the G1 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Oct. 4.

Thursday’s Carnival activity features ’TDN Rising Star’ Polar River (Congrats) against a maximum of three rivals in the G3 UAE Oaks (1900m), while in France, Solow (GB) (Singspiel {Ire}) gears up in the 1600-metre Prix Montjeu over the Chantilly all-weather track. He parlayed a 1/2-length success in that race 12 months ago into a briliant victory in the G1 Dubai Turf.