Mendip: one of five Godolphin runners in the Group 2 feature on ThursdayPICTURE: Dubai Racing Club/ Andrew Watkins
Mendip leads Godolphin big guns into battle
Report: UAE, Thursday 5.35pm GMT (Live on Sky)
Meydan: Al Maktoum Challenge R2 Sponsored By Tabloid (Group 2), 1m1½f, Tapeta, 3yo+
THE Dubai World Cup Carnival steps up a gear as Godolphin fire some of their biggest guns in the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge.
Meydan specialist Mendip is supported by a strong team including former top US performer Alpha, who dead-heated for last year's Travers Stakes, and Prix De Jockey Club runner-up Saint Baudolino.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Mendip will bid to become the third horse to win consecutive Al Maktoum Challenge IIs when he faces 11 rivals in the Group 2 Tapeta feature.
Kieren Fallon is again in the saddle as the pair bid to emulate dual winners Best Of The Bests (2001/02) and Jack Sullivan (2005/06).
Bin Suroor has saddled the winner of this race eight times, including with subsequent Dubai World Cup winner Moon Ballad in 2003, and he is responsible for four of the 12 runners.
Fellow Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni relies on Saint Baudolino, runner-up in last year's French Derby when trained by Andre Fabre and having his first start for the trainer.
Await The Dawn makes his debut for Mike de Kock having previously been trained by Aidan O'Brien.
What they say:
Saeed Bin Suroor, trainer of Prince Bishop, Alpha, Hunter's Light and Mendip
"Mendip goes really well on the Tapeta. We have saved him for the carnival again so he has had a nice break since March and is working nicely. Prince Bishop won here last year but he has disappointed in this type of race before. Alpha is having his first start for us but is classy while Hunter's Light seems to handle the surface well at home."
Mike De Kock, trainer of Await The Dawn
"Await The Dawn has been off since March and only had one outing last year. It is his first start for us and he will be entitled to need it."
Mahmood Al Zarooni, trainer of Saint Baudolino
"I have been pleased with him since he arrived here in Dubai and he soon adapted and has been training well."
Doug Watson, trainer of So Beautiful
"He sort of boiled over last week and is better than he was able to show then. He worked well on the Tapeta so I am confident he will handle the surface but I have been here in Dubai a very long time and this must be one of the strongest ever renewals of this race."
Richard Mullen, jockey on Surfer
"I don't think he has a good draw but we have always really liked him and this is the acid test. It is his toughest assignment to date by some way but he deserves his chance in this company."