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The 2012 Group 1 Jebel Hatta winner Master Of Hounds is not the only horse to attempt to defend his crown on Super Saturday and both of last year’s big sprint race winners are back again.
Subsequent Group 1 Golden Shaheen winner Krypton Factor, trained and owned by Bahraini Fawzi Nass, won the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal over the same 1200m all-weather course as his big night win, on this card last year and is back again. On that occasion he was chased home by UK raider, Hitchens who is back in opposition again.
Regular pilot Kieren Fallon rides Krypton Factor and Nass said: “We were delighted with his return and a good third in the Al Shindagha Sprint when we knew he would need the run. This has always been the plan and he has a good draw so we expect him to go well.”
The Meydan Sprint, over 1000m on turf, has been upgraded to Listed status this year and the Michael Halford-trained Invincible Ash is another one back to defend a title. She has not won since but Fallon is a noteworthy jockey booking with last year’s winning jockey, Jamie Spencer, claimed to partner Spirit Quartz.
The Mike De Kock-trained Shea Shea looks a big threat to a strong challenge from England and Ireland, the latter including not only last year’s winner but also the runner-up, Sole Power.
Another bidding for a repeat win is Godolphin’s African Story who faces 13 rivals in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar he won last year on his way to winning the Godolphin Mile over the same 1600m all-weather course and distance. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, this will be his first start since a close fifth in Hong Kong in May but it is noticeable that Silvestre De Sousa, aboard when he last ran, is riding stable companion Aesop’s Fables.
Course and distance winners Moonwalk In Paris and Barbecue Eddie are just two others to consider in a good renewal.
The Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold, over 2410m on turf, sees Masterstroke make his first start for Godolphin trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni having not run since his excellent third in last year’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe.
Eleven have been declared for the middle round of the UAE Triple Crown, the 1900m Al Bastakiya, an all-weather Listed contest that, in the past, has been won by subsequent UAE Derby winners Asiatic Boy and Mendip. That pair were both trained by Mike De Kock for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum who combine with both Zahee and Emotif in this year’s renewal.
Nieshan will bid to defend his crown for a second time in the 2000m (all-weather) Group 1 Purebred Arabian version of Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 with Gerald Avranche again aboard for trainer Eric Lemartinel, as he was 12 months ago whereas Christophe Lemaire was in the saddle when the horse won the race in 2011.
Avranche said: “He is a very nice horse and was only just beaten last time in HH The President’s Cup at Abu Dhabi by Naseem. These conditions suit him just as well and he is hopefully we can reverse that form.”
Seraphin Du Paon, winner of the Kahayla Classic in 2011, the Purebred Arabian equivalent of the Dubai World Cup, and Versac Py, look big dangers.