THE action starts early at Meydan today on Super Saturday, where any number of contenders for the races on Dubai World Cup Day will stake their final claims for the big night.
At 4pm Dubai time (2pm SA time), Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Fawree (Bernard Fayd’Herbe) needs to show if he’s good enough to take his place in the $12-million UAE Derby on 25 March – he’s in Race 1, the Listed Al Bastakiya over 1900m on dirt.
The stable believes he has the mettle – his supporters around the world think so too. The American-bred son of Candy Ride impressed when scoring here on 12 January, defeating Bee Jersey in good style. The form of that race was given a boost after the runner-up chased home Thunder Snow in the UAE 2000 Guineas. Fawree can cement his claims as a leading player in the Derby, a race Mike has won six times, the most recent with Mubtaahij two years ago.
Mike commented: “Fawree is rated 98, below two others, but he’s a horse on the up and he has plenty of ability, he’s conceivably better than a 98. He’s had a good prep, we’re happy with him, but we will be holding our breath at the start because he’s got rocks in his head.
“The starting team in Dubai know Fawree very well, they’ve helped tremendously so far and he’s gone through the pens twice, but it’s touch and go with this horse. He’s drawn wide, but we’re not overly concerned about that. He will be able to stay out of the kickback and he runs on strong.”
Lindo Amor (Christophe Soumillon) will be fitted with blinkers in Race 4, the Burj Nahaar over 1600m on dirt and Mike said: “He’s put in a few fair efforts but he’s probably not good enough to win, he has a place chance.”
The consistent Tahanee has been expected to win at this Carnival – things haven’t got any easier for her but she’s been in the money and she’s getting close – she can spring a surprise in Race 5, the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint over 1200m in which Pat Cosgrave picks up the ride.
Mike said: “We’ll be fitting Tahanee with cheek pieces, this will be her last Carnival run and we want to keep her straight in the finish, she is well as always.”
The Gr1 Jebel Hatta over 1800m draws the curtain on the DWC curtain-raiser and Light The Lights (Soumillon), Ertijaal (AUS – Jim Crowley) and Sanshaawes (Fayd’Herbe) are the three big guns to represent the yard.
Mike commented: “Ertijaal has his second run from a long rest, as noted he had as throat operation but he fared quite well first time back. He will need the run again, but he is a natural talent and he’s breathing a lot better, so we’re hoping he can be involved in the finish today. Light The Lights just carried a bit of extra weight last time, he’s come on from that run. I’m not sure he is of Gr1 winning quality, but he will be out there giving if his best. The same goes for the soldier Sanshaawes, who is in good form and likely to give some cheek.”
Photo: Fawree, what we’d like to see today. (Andrew Watkins)