***This article was originally published Feb. 9 on the Bloodhorse.com website***
Twelve evenly-matched colts and geldings are set to face the starter in the $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III). The one mile contest is one of two stakes that will be run on Thursday over the Tapeta all-weather surface at Meydan Racecourse.
Mike de Kock will send out Zanzamar for owner Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum. By leading South African sire Fort Wood, Zanzamar has won three of seven starts, and has finished in the money six times. The bay colt wrapped up his juvenile season with a good third in the Premier’s Champion Stakes (SAf-I). In his debut at Meydan last month, Zanzamar looked sharp when capturing the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial by a length over Splash Point, who will also contest the 2000 Guineas. Richard Hills has the mount.
Argentine-bred Paulinho will be seeking to improve off of his second-place finish in a seven-furlong conditions race at Meydan on Dec. 30. Trained by Herman Brown for owners Malkinsky Stud and Zalim Bifov, Paulinho was undefeated as a juvenile in his native Argentina, winning his three starts by a combined 25 lengths. He capped off his season with an impressive six-length victory in the Estrellas Juvenile (Arg-I) on June 26. The son of Equal Stripes will be ridden for the first time by Ryan Moore.
Godolphin will send out the lightly-raced pair of Buffum and Bridgefield. Buffum, from the first crop of champion Bernardini, was purchased for $1.2 million dollars by Sheik Mohammed at the 2009 Saratoga Select yearling sale. After winning his debut going a mile at Belmont Park last October, Buffum ran in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II), where he finished last of five to the highly-regarded To Honor And Serve. Originally trained by Tom Albertrani, Buffum was transferred to the barn of Saeed bin Suroor. Frankie Dettori has the mount.
Bridgefield is the second Godolphin runner. Trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, the son of Speightstown most recently ran third to Zanzamar on Jan. 20. Prior to that, Bridgefield captured a seven-furlong maiden race at Doncaster last October. Ahmed Ajtebi will ride.
Another to bear watching is the Clive Brittain-trained Abjer. A 3-year-old colt by Singspiel, Abjer captured the Jaguar XJ Autumn Stakes (Eng-III) at Ascot last October. He will have to improve off of a poor showing in the Criterium International (Fr-I), where he finished last of ten runners to Roderic O’Connor. Ted Durcan will ride.
Musir and Gayego Headline Firebreak Stakes
One race prior to the UAE 2000 Guineas, a field of 14 older runners will go to post in the listed $175,000 Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Dubal. Run over the same course and distance as the Guineas, the Firebreak will mark the return of Musir, who captured both the UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby (UAE-II) last year for trainer Mike de Kock. The son of Redoute’s Choice will be ridden once again by Christophe Soumillon, with their goal being a shot at the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March.
De Kock will also saddle Imbongi, who was second to Mendip in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 1 Sponsored by Longines (UAE-III) in his seasonal debut. De Kock has indicated that this race may lead to a possible start in the Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) on World Cup day.
Saeed bin Suroor will be sending out Gayego, Skysurfers, and Lochinver in the Firebreak. Gayego, a 6-year-old horse by Gilded Time has been absent since finishing third to Dakota Phone in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I). Ted Durcan will be aboard, as Frankie Dettori opts for Skysurfers, who finished third in last year’s Godolphin Mile.
Others to watch are the Herman Brown-trained Bankable, second in the 2010 Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IT), and Dandy Boy, a David Marnane-trained gelding who looked sharp when winning a seven-furlong turf handicap Jan. 13.
$250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Dubal (gr. III, race 6, 12:30 p.m. EST), 3yos (3yo NH-bred, 4yo SH-bred), 8 furlongs (Tapeta).
PP, Horse, Wgt., Jockey, Trainer
1. Mayfair Lad (GB), 120, R. Ffrench, A. Al Raihe
2. Abstrato (Brz), 130, K. Shea, M. de Kock
3. Abjer (Fr), 120, T. Durcan, C. Brittain
4. Paulinho (Arg), 130, R. Moore, H. Brown
5. Hoot (Ire), 120, C.P. Lemaire, A. bin Huzaim
6. Air of Grace (Ire), 120, A. Murgia, I. Mohammed
7. Zanzamar (SAf), 130, R. Hills, M. de Kock
8. Buffum (KY), 120, L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
9. Sonoran Sands (Ire), 120, C. O’Donoghue, J.S. Moore
10. Bridgefield (KY), 120, A. Ajtebi, M. Al Zarooni
11. Splash Point (KY), 120, M. Barzalona, M. Al Zarooni
12. Krypton Factor (GB), 120, K. Fallon, F. Nass
$175,000 Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Dubal (listed, race 5, 11:50 a.m. EST), 3yo (SH-bred) and up, 8 furlongs (Tapeta). All carry 126 lbs.
1. Il Grande Maurizio (Ire), R. Ffrench, A. Al Raihe
2. Bankable (Ire), R. Moore, H. Brown
3. Imbongi (SAf), K. Shea, M. de Kock
4. Accountforthegold (NY), R. Cleary, R. Bouresly
5. Frosty Secret (FL), B. Fayd’Herbe, M. de Kock
6. Lochinver (KY), M. Barzalona, S. bin Suroor
7. Cat Junior (KY), O. Peslier, N. Petersen
8. Skysurfers (GB), L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
9. Green Coast (Ire), T. O’Shea, D. Watson
10. Dandy Boy (Ity), C. O’Donoghue, D. Marnane
11. Comradeship (Ire), R. Burke, R. Bouresly
12. Mujaazef (GB), R. Hills, A. Al Raihe
13. Musir (Aus), C. Soumillon, M. de Kock
14. Gayego (KY), T. Durcan, S. bin Suroor