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Homeracing

Dubai Preview: Royal Fleet one for Millennium

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

February 24th, 2022

As the racing world’s attention concentrates on Saturday’s Saudi Cup, just one group race is scheduled in Dubai this Friday. However, there is still plenty of competitive racing, and all races are subject to TwinSpires’ Rest of the World Bet Back offer.

The big race on the card is the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) Dubai Millennium Stakes, where a competitive field of 12 has been assembled for the turf contest.

Looking to win the race for a second consecutive year is #6 Star Safari, from the Charlie Appleby team. The Sea the Stars six-year-old beat Bedouin’s Story in last year’s renewal and showed he has returned to something like his best when winning the Listed Zabeel Turf at Meydan Jan. 28. A winner in four of his seven Meydan starts, he will be given every chance of making it five under William Buick.

However, he looks set to face a strong challenge from his stablemate #11 Royal Fleet. The four-year-old son of Dubawi has raced just seven times for four victories and has been racing in better company than Star Safari in Dubai this winter. At his most recent start he was beaten only by the remarkable Lord Glitters in the Singspiel Stakes (G2).

Royal Fleet has yet to race past 1 1/8 miles but gives every impression he will manage 1 1/4 miles. James Doyle, who has ridden him in his two Meydan starts this year, retains the mount.

The highest-rated horse in the race is also the most intriguing. Turkish colt #8 Burgas earned a rating of 113, three above Star Safari and four above Royal Fleet, after winning eight of his 12 starts in Turkey. In his final five starts last year he won four Listed races and finished fourth in the Bosphorous Cup (G2).

All five of those races were over at least 1 3/8 miles, however. Apart from the fact that it’s hard to measure how good the form is around him, he may be better as the distances increase.

The best of the others may be #3 Marie’s Diamond. He was second to Star Safari in the Zabeel Turf and though a well-beaten 11th last week, that was over 1,600 meters (about one mile) and he should appreciate the return to 1 1/4 miles. He should be included in multiples, as should #7 Volcanic Sky and #10 Integrant.

BEST PLAY

  • $10 win: #11 Royal Fleet.
  • $30 show: #11 Royal Fleet.
  • $1 trifecta: 6, 11 with 3, 6, 8, 11 with 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11.

BONUS PLAY – SOUTH AFRICA

Kenilworth, February 26, Race 6, Cape Derby (G1, 2,000 meters)

  • $10 win/$30 show, #1 Double Superlative: Cape Guineas winner who put up a great run to finish fourth to Kommetdieding in the Cape Met over the same 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) trip at Kenilworth Jan. 29. Returns to three-year-old company and very hard to beat.

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