Godolphin and De Kock saddle the favourites for the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan

Peter Ward 01:20 12/02/2015
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Strong contender: Godolphin’s Maftool (second, right) will be pushing for honours in the UAE 2000 Guineas.

The 2015 Meydan Carnival continues this evening with arguably the strongest card of the year so far. 

With a trio of Group Three contests supported by four ultra competitive handicaps, the card is headlined by the UAE 2000 Guineas.

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Run over 1600m on the dirt and, certainly not for the first time, the race is likely to be dominated by Godolphin and South African Mike De Kock. 

The latter, seeking a record sixth win in the contest, saddles two with stable jockey, Christophe Soumillon, again riding Ajwad who chased home stable companion, Mubtaahij, in the 1400m trial a month ago.

That was a second local win for De Kock’s charge who had earlier won a maiden (notably against his elders) on his local debut over this 1600m course and distance. 

Mike De Kock's African Story dominated proceedings at Meydan last week.

The trainer said: “They are two nice horses. Mubtaahij was always a nice prospect and has done really well since he arrived here. 

“We thought the 1600m over which he won his maiden was short enough so we were delighted when he won over 1400m. Ajwad chased him home on his first start of the year and he needed the run so should be competitive again.”

Heading the opposition would appear to be Godolphin’s Maftool, third in the trial four weeks ago when he lost any serious chance by missing the break badly. 

His trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, seeking a fifth win in the race, said: “He actually ran very well last time after a bad start to the race. He has been breaking well from the stalls at home in the interim and hopefully the visor will help.”

Bin Suroor’s charge was a Group Three winner at Kempton in England last year when chased home by Burnt Sugar, trained by Richard Hannon.

The 1200m Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint looks ultra competitive and, among the 10 declared, are two previous winners of the Group 1 Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night.

There's plenty of exciting action expected to take place at Meydan.

Both Krypton Factor (2011) and Reynaldothewizard (2013) achieved those big wins on the previous Tapeta surface but the latter has at least proved himself over course and distance.

The mount of Richard Mullen, he is trained by Satish Seemar and was an impressive winner of the Listed Dubawi Stakes just four weeks ago.

Beat Baby and Rafeej are the other course and distance winners in the field. 

The penultimate event, the 1600m Firebreak Stakes, is the third dirt Group Three on the card and has proven in the past to be a race to keep a close eye on with regards to the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night.

Last year it was won by Variety Club who went on to glory on the big night, as did Godolphin’s Skysurfers in 2011. 

Godolphin’s Fencing, handled by Charlie Appleby, the De Kock-trained Darwin and course and distance winner, Tamarkuz, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi for Sheikh Hamdan, could be the trio to concentrate on.

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