Tiara's connections hoping for some sparkle in defence of her Meydan crown
The Mick Channon-trained Opal Tiara will on Saturday attempt to do something never achieved before when she defends her crown in the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes at Meydan (4.50).
Restricted to fillies and mares, the 1m1f turf feature has never been won by the same horse twice but her trainer is not worried about such statistics.
An excellent fourth in the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes, over course and distance on the first night of the carnival, she was never able to land a blow, back over a mile, in the Group 2 Cape Verdi.
Speaking from his Lambourn base, Channon said: "We are absolutely delighted with her going into the race. The team report her in great health and she is enjoying the weather; it's a bit warmer there!
"Her first outing was a belter but she did not really run her race last time, we don't know why. But she's in great form and we expect a big run under conditions we know suit her well."
Godolphin’s Promising Run landed the Cape Verdi, beating four of her six rivals today including Channon’s filly.
Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, seeking a fourth winner in the race, Promising Run will try to emulate former stable companion Very Special, who defied a penalty to land this in 2016.
Sun Classique, Cladocera and Sajjhaa, also trained by Bin Suroor for Godolphin, completed the double with the last-named also going on to win both Super Saturday’s Group 1 Jebel Hatta and the Dubai Turf on World Cup night.
Bin Suroor said: "She won the Cape Verdi well and has improved since then. She has won big races for Godolphin here, England and in Turkey and can hopefully win her sixth race for us.
"We have done well in the Balanchine, winning it three times, including with Sajjhaa who then won two Group 1 races. Hopefully Promising Run can win again and then contest those races."
Heavy Metal looking to defy penalty in the Firebreak Stakes
The best of the dirt races is the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes (3.40) over a mile, for which just six have been declared. They include Heavy Metal, penalised for his Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 victory on the first night of the carnival.
Seeking a seventh Meydan dirt success, he was third just last week in the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 over an extended 1m1f, the longest trip he has attempted in his career.
The mount of Mickael Barzalona, he is trained by Salem Bin Ghadayer, who said: "This mile is his best trip and he is one of our stable stars. He has a penalty but we expect a big effort."
For Godolphin, Charlie Appleby switches Bravo Zolo, second and third on his two 2018 Meydan outings, to dirt for the first time.
He said: "We always thought the mile was his optimum trip so this looks a good chance to try him on the dirt.
"He works well on it at home and, if handling it in a race, should be a major player."
UAE champion trainer Doug Watson saddles the recently gelded Cosmo Charlie, who looks best of the remaining quartet.
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