Mendip (above) will be in action in the first Group race of the 2012 carnivalPICTURE: Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Mendip bids for back-to-back wins
Preview: UAE, Thursday 5.35pm GMT (Live on ATR/RUK)
Meydan: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 1m, AW, 3yo+
THE Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Mendip looks certain to make a bold attempt to follow up in the first Group race of the 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Frankie Dettori's mount, a two-and-a-quarter-length winner 12 months ago, has the plum draw in one but history is against him as no horse has won this Group 3 twice since it was first run in 1994.
Unbeaten over a mile, having won twice at Meydan and on Polytrack on his British debut at Kempton, Mendip's only defeat on an all-weather surface was behind Musir in the 2010 UAE Derby.
Christophe Soumillon maintains his partnership with Musir, leaving Kevin Shea to ride new stablemate Master Of Hounds, who was second in last year's UAE Derby for Aidan O'Brien before finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
Xin Xu Lin was fifth, about five lengths behind Mike de Kock's new recruit, in the 2011 UAE Derby and will be having only his second start for Mahmood Al Zarooni.
Champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe runs Derbaas, who won four times over this trip at Meydan last year, twice on Tapeta and twice on turf. Richard Hills rides, leaving Tadhg O'Shea to partner last season's Jebel Ali Mile winner Snaafy. Ed Vaughan saddles Dance And Dance, ridden by Jamie Spencer.
What they say
Saeed Bin Suroor, trainer of Mendip and Secrecy
"These are Mendip's optimum conditions and he's unbeaten over a mile. This has been the targetsince World Cup night. He had the summer off to come here again fit and well and is in great form. Secrecy won on Polytrack the only time he tried it in the UK and works very well on our Tapeta. He should run well."
Richard Hills, rider of Derbaas
"We were pleased with his run last week on turf when he tired in the final furlong and he normally improves a bundle from his first run. He is a good horse on turf and Tapeta, so the switch in surface is not a problem, and the return to a mile will not inconvenience him. I expect a big run."
Jamie Spencer, rider of Dance And Dance
"It is his first run since October but he's run well fresh. It looks a strong race but the surface will not be a problem as he has won at both Lingfield and Kempton on Polytrack."
Mike de Kock, trainer of Musir and Master Of Hounds
"Both are as fit as we can get them at home and ready for a run. Musir is at his third carnival and has yet to run a bad race in Dubai. He deserved his big win in Turkey on his last start and that was on turf, which I feel is going to be his best surface. Master Of Hounds is an exciting new horse and one we are very much looking forward to. He suffered a setback in America and I have a feeling he is going to be better over further in time."
Ahmed Ajtebi, rider of Le Drakkar
"We are probably looking at a place at best. He is a nice horse but from what we know seems better suited to turf. However, we need to get him back on a racecourse and this is a good opportunity."
Richard Mullen, rider of Escape Route
"He is a real favourite in the yard and amazingly consistent and ultra versatile. He has won on Polytrack in the UK over a mile and a quarter and over five furlongs on dirt at Jebel Ali, as well as at Goodwood and Abu Dhabi on turf. He won on Tapeta at Meydan two years ago, over seven furlongs, so the surface is no problem, but that was in a handicap and he may find one or two too strong."
Mahmood Al Zarooni, trainer of Xin Xu Lin
"I'm looking forward to running him this year after just one start last year when he tired in the UAE Derby but still ran well. He is a Grade 1 winner in both Argentina and Brazil and definitely shows us plenty of class at home. After the UAE Derby we decided to give him a break and, judging by the improvement he has shown in his work, that was the right decision."
Pat Cosgrave, rider of Kavango
"He is a nice horse and was unlucky not to win at the carnival last year when he ran some really good races in defeat on both turf and Tapeta. We think he has improved for a nice break and he is ready to get back on the course."
Ryan Moore, rider of Fanunalter
"Both his Meydan runs were on turf but he won twice at Kempton and I was second on him at Wolverhampton, so the Tapeta will not be an issue. I would say I was hopeful rather than confident."
Tadhg O'Shea, rider of Snaafy
"He has a touch of class as he has shown over the last few seasons. The trainer seems happy but thinks he will improve for this run."