Barbecue Eddie: penalised for his win in the Maktoum Challenge last yearPICTURE: Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Meandre among the
stars on show at Meydan
Preview: UAE, Thursday starts 2.30pm GMT
MULTIPLE Group 1-winner Meandre, Group 2 winners Barbecue Eddie and Derbaas plus British champion jockey Richard Hughes are just some of the star attractions on Thursday.
With just three weeks before the opening meeting of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival, the local trainers are taking this opportunity to get a run into some of their stable stars on this cracking card.
Meandre (Doug Watson/Pat Dobbs), sixth in the 2013 Dubai World Cup for Andre Fabre, was subsequently campaigned in Europe - after a run in Singapore for Watson - winning a Group 1 in Germany for Arslangirej Savujev.
Connections had hoped for an invitation to run in Hong Kong but that was not forthcoming meaning the five-year-old is well advanced in his preparation.
Watson said: "Hong Kong was the original plan and he was trained with that in mind so is fit, well and ready for a race. This was the obvious one and gives us a chance to see if he can carry his Group 1 class onto the Tapeta. If he does we have lots of options as his turf form is excellent."
He faces seven rivals in a 1m2f conditions race with Farrier (Satish Seemar/Richard Mullen) looking the main danger. A Jebel Ali winner on his seasonal return, he has a Tapeta win to his name and looks progressive.
Mullen said: "He was impressive first time and we hope he is very much going the right. We believe he is a genuine carnival hope and taking on Meandre will give us a good idea where we stand with him."
Watson and Seemar also lock horns in a 1m conditions race with Barbecue Eddie (Dane O'Neill), penalised for his win in last season's opening round of the Maktoum Challenge, opposed by Surfer, runner-up in the middle leg of the challenge.
Watson said: "Eddie has been brilliant for us and is as fit and well as we can get him at home. He normally goes well fresh and we expect a good run but that penalty makes life harder."
Mullen rides Surfer and said: "This looks a hot little race but we know our lad is good enough to compete with Barbecue Eddie and co - he showed that last year when he kept improving - other than in the Godolphin Mile. We think he is still on the upgrade and this is a perfect comeback race."
Hamdan Al Maktoum's retained jockey Paul Hanagan rides Derbaas (Ali Rashid Al Raihe), who has two runs under his belt this season.
Richard Hughes has two rides, Mysterious Glow in the maiden and the strongly fancied Rabbah De Carrere in the Arabian race.