Godolphin double-handed in Anatolia
PREVIEW: TURKEY, Saturday
Veliefendi: Anatolia Stakes (All-Weather) 1m 2f
TURKEY'S revamped and upgraded showpiece meeting commences with the first three of six international races under lights at Veliefendi in Istanbul on Saturday night.
Godolphin are doubly represented by Familiar Territory and Happy Boy in £212,500 Anatolia Stakes as the inaugural Turkish International Racing Festival starts with the first three of six richly endowed international races under lights at Veliefendi, Istanbul.
Turkey has been hosting international contests since 1990 but this meeting has expanded from three races to six since last year and is now run over two days rather than one.
The three new races take place today, including the Anatolia Stakes, 1m2f dirt race in which Saeed Bin Suroor has two chances of securing his most lucrative prize of the European season so far.
French jockey Davy Bonilla, who has enjoyedsuch a fabulous recent spell in conjunction with trainer Freddie Head, is an unusual booking for Familiar Territory.
The son of Cape Cross has not run since Dubai in February but he had the misfortune of playing second fiddle to the subsequent Dubai World Cup hero, Curlin, that day and there is certainly nothing anywhere near that calibre among his eight rivals here.
Familiar Territory goes particularly well fresh and has been showing all the signs since his arrival in Istanbul on Thursday that he is ready for an outing.
Daragh O'Donohoe gets the leg up on Happy Boy, another Nad Al Sheba winner over the winter, who should relish this return to an artificial surface having failed to fire in three spins on turf since beingbased in Newmarket.
The opposite is the case for the final British raider, the Mark Johnston-trained Hearthstead Maison, as the underfoot conditions may not suit this one-time Group 3 winner, although the evidence of his solitary all-weather outing, when third to Many Volumes at Kempton last month, was inconclusive.
The other overseas raiders in the line-up are the German pair Santiago, a former Classic winner who has hinted at a return to form this term, and Thunder Storm Cat, who was once trainedby Paul Cole and is taking a big step up in class.
Veliefendi: Istanbul Trophy (Turf) 7f
A FIVE-STRONG Franco-German contingent may struggle against the evergreen local mare Ribella in this £212,500 event.
The third new international race is the £85,000 IFAHR Trophy, a 1m 2 1/2f event for purebred arabians, where Thierry Jarnet partners the only foreign runner, the French colt, Belamer.