Winter Lightning out to emulate sister by completing 1,000 Guineas-Oaks double
UAE Oaks (Group 3) | 1m1½f | Dirt | 3yo
Six UAE 1,000 Guineas winners, four of them prepared by Saeed Bin Suroor, have followed up in the Group 3 UAE Oaks, and the trainer looks to have every chance of doing so again with Winter Lightning.
Second in a Newmarket maiden on her debut in October, the three-year-old daughter of Shamardal won her local and dirt debut in the 7f UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial before following up in the first of the local Classics, three weeks later, over a mile.
She is a half-sister to Thunder Snow, winner of both the UAE 2,000 Guineas and UAE Derby last year, and a full-sister to Ihtimal who completed the UAE 1,000 Guineas/Oaks double in 2014.
Pat Cosgrave, who has ridden her to both victories, is on board again as he seeks a first UAE Oaks success.
Bin Suroor said: “She has prospered in Dubai and remains in great form. Her last piece of work was very good and we’re expecting another big run over a trip which should suit.”
In both the trial and UAE 1,000 Guineas, the Godolphin filly was chased home by the Doug Watson-trained Rayya, a debut winner on her only previous start in a 7f juvenile fillies’ maiden in December.
Watson, who saddled Polar River to win both local fillies’ Classics in 2016, said: “Obviously Winter Lightning has beaten us twice and is going to be hard to overcome but our filly is in great shape. The longer trip should suit her.”
Charlie Appleby is represented by Godolphin’s Expressiy, who has twice finished third behind the other pair. He said of the daughter of Siyouni: “The longer trip should be in our favour and we’d certainly be hopeful of at least getting closer.”
The David Simcock-trained nine-year-old went on to win twice at Group 2 leavel and the trainer said: “He arrived last Saturday and has travelled over very well. He has settled straight back in to the routine and is full of himself.
“It is a lot warmer here than it is in England and he is enjoying it.
“The Dubai Gold Cup is four weeks away and this is his prep for that, but he won it in 2016 and ran well in last year’s renewal, both times after a break, and should do so again.”
He is joined by Prince Of Arran, a two-mile handicap winner on his second local start and a first carnival winner for Charlie Fellowes. James Doyle takes the ride.
However, the one to beat appears to be Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Vazirabad, winner of the two-mile Dubai Gold Cup for the last two years. Regular jockey Christophe Soumillon is again in the saddle.
However, the grey was beaten in this last year when second to Saeed Bin Suroor’s Beautiful Romance and last year’s winning trainer saddles Red Galileo and Natural Scenery this time.
Rare Rhythm, Godolphin’s third runner could be their best hope. The six-year-old won both his 2017 outings for Charlie Appleby and is seemingly progressive after just seven career starts.
Appleby said: “We hope he has the makings of a good stayer; he has a progressive profile and, we hope, is still improving.
“This was always the first target and he should run well with the big race in mind four weeks away.”
Read exclusive previews from 6pm daily on racingpost.com