Dubai World Cup Carnival: February round-up

Five Carnival meetings provided shocks, course records and more glory for Team Godolphin

Sea of blue

Godolphin’s stellar 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival continued in February, with 11 more winners to add to the 10 that trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed Bin Suroor notched up in January. Highlights included turf handicap victories for Folkswood and Prize Money – both of whom are set to step up to Group company next – and a dominant display in the UAE 2,000 Guineas from Thunder Snow, who now looks the one to beat in the UAE Derby. However, Beautiful Romance – the globetrotting mare who ran in the 2016 Melbourne Cup – provided the champagne moment when beating Vazirabad and Sheikhzayedroad in a classy running of the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy on 23 February. Next stop for her is the Dubai Gold Cup.

Star performance

February threw up many contenders in this category – from the shock UAE 1,000 Guineas victory for Saudi Arabian filly Nashmiah, to the smooth Dubawi Stakes success of classy French raider Zarak – but there can only be one (runaway) winner. Ertijaal absolutely blitzed the field in the Group 3 Meydan Sprint on 16 February, becoming the first horse to go under 56 seconds on the five-furlong turf track. A tilt at the Group 1 Al Quoz sprint on World Cup night – and a fascinating clash with Limato – awaits for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s speed merchant.

Rolling back the years

Evergreen sprinter Krypton Factor is in the midst of a record seventh Carnival campaign, and marked it with a surprise win in a valuable six-furlong handicap on 9 February. The nine-year-old’s victory was part of a treble on the night for top Dutch rider Adrie de Vries, who has struck up a successful partnership with Bin Suroor at this year’s Carnival and looks a jockey to follow for the big races ahead.

Watch out for…

The Carnival culminates with “Super Saturday” on 4 March, where the Group 1 Jebel Hatta is the feature of a seven-race card. Reigning Dubai Turf champion Postponed is set to return in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold, while Japan’s Lani will line up in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge, as a prep for the Dubai World Cup. With Godolphin’s Move Up and Doug Watson’s Polar River among the other star names bound for Meydan this Saturday, it’s a meeting you won’t want to miss.

The 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival concludes with “Super Saturday” on 4 March, followed by the Dubai World Cup – the world’s richest day of racing – on 25 March