Zakouski defeats Mythical Magic, Salute the Soldier and Dream Castle in the G2 Zabeel Mile (Erika Rasmussen)
Defending Dubai World Cup Carnival leading trainer Charlie Appleby looks to pick up where he has left off the past few seasons, entering Thursday’s first evening of the global showcase with an absolute assault of the major races involved. In four of the evening’s seven fixtures–a card that includes three Group 2s, one Group 3 and two Listed stakes–Appleby starts the likely market favourite or second choice.
Chief among his chances is Zakouski (to be ridden by William Buick), who returns to the Meydan turf course over which he has appeared his optimal in the G2 Singspiel. Stretching out to nine furlongs for the first time, last year’s G2 Zabeel Mile winner proved himself over a stiff mile last out when winning Newmarket’s Ben Marshall Stakes (Listed) over heavy ground. Also a mile handicap winner at Meydan last season, the winner of four of six races has been gingerly campaigned, likely with a return to Dubai in mind.
“Zakouski is in great form, Appleby said. “His two runs at Newmarket at the back end will certainly put him spot on for Thursday evening. His homework has been good and he’s going to be a player.”
Appleby also starts 2019 Zabeel Mile winner Mythical Magic (Richard Mullen) and 2019 Meydan Trophy victor Art du Val (James Doyle). The former has not finished worse than second at Meydan in four starts, but was bested by Zakouski in his Zabeel Mile defence last year, while the latter has always threatened to be a proper Group horse. All paths must go through Saeed bin Suroor, who has won the past three editions of this race and starts G1 2000 Guineas fourth Military March and G1-winning Dream Castle, winner of this in 2019.
David O’Meara-trained globetrotter Lord Glitters will also garner significant support in his first venture back to Meydan since finishing a bang-up third to Almond Eye and Vivlos in the 2019 G1 Dubai Turf–14 lengths ahead of Dream Castle. Well-regarded Guineas sixth Kinross, G1 winner For the Top, Royal Ascot winner Bless Him and proven course winners Eqtiraan and Oasis Charm add depth to the event.
Two races later, Appleby saddles the first three market choices in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort, a race he and Doyle have won the past three years together and he and Buick landed in 2015 and 2016. He brings back his last two winners, Glorious Journey (Buick) and D’bai (Doyle), as well as upstart Velorum (Mickael Barzalona), a smart handicap winner last season. The race also drew the progressive Ken Condon pupil Could Be King, Uruguayan speedster Almoradi and Bin Suroor-trained Final Song, a proven course performer who chased Glorious Journey home in Newbury’s Dubai Duty Free Cup Stakes (Listed) in September.
“D’bai and Glorious Journey, two of the old timers, have both been in great order and we know they both run well fresh, so they’re going to be big players,” Appleby said. “Velorum, the youngest of the team, had his one start at Meydan last year and did it nicely, so it’s time for him to step up and test him at this level. We’re pleased with what we’ve seen with him, but I do think stepping up to a mile is going to be his optimum trip going on down the line.”
Appleby also starts the favourites Walton Street (Buick) and Ispolini (Doyle) in the Dubai Racing Club Classic (Listed) over 12 grassy furlongs, as well as co-favourite Lazuli (Buick) in the nightcapped Dubai Dash (Listed) over five furlongs down the turf chute. Lazuli must defeat budding rival and defending champ Equilateral, among others.
Press Release: DWC