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Strong Godolphin contingent for high-profile meeting

Dubai: Over the years Godolphin have perfected their planning to a fine art and it comes as no surprise to see that they have assembled a strong team for next Saturday’s $27.5 million (Dh101 million) Dubai World Cup meeting.

Sixteen horses will carry the famous royal blues silks that have accrued 36 victories at the meeting since it was launched in 1996, with Group 2 $2 million UAE Derby attracting their most interest.

As many as five Godolphin horses, including a trio trained by Charlie Appleby and two from veteran Saeed Bin Surour’s yard, are being aimed at the final Classic of the UAE season.

Bin Surour, who has supplied the winner of the 1,900-metre contest on seven occasions and most recently with Khawlah in 2011, is represented by Group 3 UAE 2,000 Guineas runner-up Emirates Flyer and Australian import Paximadia, who was seventh in that race.

Appleby saddles his first UAE Derby runners, led by ante-post favourite and UAE 2,000 Guineas conqueror Long John, fourth-placed Safety Check and Figure Of Speech, who was fourth in the Listed Meydan Classic.

“It has always has been one of the most competitive races on the card and this year is no different,” said Bin Surour of the Derby. “I like both my horses, but they will have to be at their best on Saturday as there are some very good horses in the race.”

The Emirati handler is three-handed in the Group 1 $10million Dubai World Cup with African Story, Hunter’s Light and Prince Bishop, while Appleby sends out the former French-trained Vancouverite, who warmed up for his big test with a second-place effort in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday.

Perhaps Bin Surour’s best chances of adding to his impressive record at the meeting look to be Cavalryman in the Group 2 $1 million Dubai City of Gold, the stayers race over 16 furlongs, and Shuruq in the Group 2 $1million Godolphin Mile, a race the Emirati handler has won a record nine times.

“Cavalryman is in great shape and he showed he was ready for the race by winning the Nad Al Sheba Trophy (G2), while Shuruq has produced two big effort this year in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 and the Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday,” he added. “I believe they both have strong claims on the big night.”