Gill Duffield, who trained Sophie du Loup to win last year’s Dubai Stakes, could be doubly represented in this year’s renewal of the feature race at Newbury on Sunday.
The Dubai International Race Day (first race 2.30pm) is a highlight of the Arabian racing season, comprising four international events on a seven-race card, and offering £51,000 in prize-money.
A strong contingent of French-trained horses is likely to add spice to the occasion and a number of professional jockeys will be in action.
Sheikh Hamdan probably holds the key to this year’s Dubai Stakes. Not only does he own both Duffield’s likely runners, seven-year-old Madoua de Piboul and five-year-old Hamid,he also pays the bills for the Arnaud Chaille-Chaille-trained Al Sakbe, the winner two years ago.
Al Sakbe may not be the best of the French horses, however. That honour probably lies with last year’s runner-up, Magic de Piboul, a five-year-old trained by Jean-Pierre Totain, and victor over Al Sakbe at Chantilly three weeks ago.
Gillian Hay’s Al Anood comes into the equation, while his stablemate, Mutabahi, who won last year’s sprint race is again a contender for that event.
Duffield, currently leading the Arabian Racing Organisation’s trainers’ table, could saddle three runners in the Hatta Stakes for mares and fillies – Elisa Du Paon appears to be the pick. However, Mawkab, her runner in the Jumeirah Stakes forthree-year-olds, lacks experience.
Djelroy Lotois, who won at Goodwood last month for Sarah Kelleway’s stable, definitely has an advantage in that regard.