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Wednesday, February 4, 2009



AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE ROUND II FEATURES ON THURSDAY




Derrinstown Stud, the Irish arm of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's breeding operation, kindly sponsors the fifth meeting of the Dubai International Racing Carnival at Nad Al Sheba tomorrow when the second rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge take centre stage.


Racing opens with the Purebred Arabian version, a Group 1 contest over 2400m, on dirt, in which Doug Watson's Al Jalfane will bid to repeat his victory of 2007.


Last year's runner-up Paris Gagner gives Watson a strong hand and the Champion UAE Trainer said: "We know conditions suit both horses but neither are the easiest to predict. We have to be hopeful though."

The Group 3 Thoroughbred equivalent is over 1800m, also on dirt and features a clash between Round I winner My Indy, representing Godolphin and Mike De Kock's Asiatic Boy who was runner-up in last year's Dubai World Cup.


The South African explained: "Asiatic Boy has been pleasing us in his work and is ready for a run. His campaign is geared around the World Cup again and he will improve for this outing but he should go well."

Saeed Bin Suroor, trainer of My Indy, added: "We were very pleased with My Indy three weeks ago and he won as we hoped he would. He had been working like an improved horse before that race and has continued to in good form. We have to be hopeful."

Saudi Arabia's Don Renato could be their main danger.


The Cape Verdi has been upgraded this year to a Group 3 contest and the 1600m turf contest for fillies and mares has attracted a quality field to justify the new status.


De Kock introduces Front House, winner of the Gold Circle Oaks on her most recent outing and she is joined in the line-up by stablemate Inca Noble.


De Kock, who won the race last year with Sun Classique, said: "Inca Noble needs to bounce back to her best and she is not showing us a lot. Front House's Oaks win was a great performance and she has a touch of class."

Elsewhere, Danny O'Brien's Valedictum is a first UAE 2009 runner for Australia and faces 13 rivals in the Intikhab Trophy, a 1500m turf handicap.


John Oxx's Red Eye Express, denied a run on the opening night when found to be lame the morning before the race, makes a belated local debut in the concluding Al Haarth 2000m turf handicap.


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