Wootton primed for Zabeel on stable debut

Appleby rates four-year-old ‘serious contender’

  • Wednesday 20 February
  • News
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Wootton has his first run for Charlie Appleby since his move from Alex Pantall’s stable, in the Zabeel Mile at Meydan.

The four-year-old colt had form at the highest level last season, finishing third in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and fourth in the French 2000 Guineas.

“Wootton brings a good level of form from Europe, and his training has gone well,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com, as he looked forward to Thursday’s Group Two highlight.

“He looks to have strengthened up over the winter, and a reproduction of his Royal Ascot run is going to make him a serious contender.”

Appleby is also represented by Mythical Magic and First Contact.

He added: “We were delighted with Mythical Magic’s performance in the Al Fahidi Fort, and the step up to a mile is going to suit.

“We are confident that this is the right trip for him.

“First Contact didn’t settle very well in the Al Rashidiya, so we are looking to get him to relax over this distance and do everything the right way round.”

Godolphin have a fourth runner in Top Score, trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

“Top Score was disappointing over six furlongs on his latest start. But a mile will be better for him, and he has been working well at home,” said bin Suroor.

“We felt he deserved another chance in a Group race, and I am hoping for a better run this time.”

Of the six Godolphin runners in an eight-strong field for the Group Three Dubai Millennium Stakes, Appleby has four and bin Suroor two.

Appleby said: “First Nation won well on his first start in Dubai, and the form of the race has worked out well. He has done everything right since and looks the one to beat.

“Oasis Charm is a very strong traveller, who picked up nicely in a competitive handicap, and deserves to have a crack at a nice race like this.

“Spotify won over a mile and a half last time but has sharpened up for that run, and we feel that dropping back to 10 furlongs is well within his compass.

“Vintager has done well, and it was always the plan to start him off over a mile and a quarter, because he ran well to finish fourth in the Hampton Court Stakes on his only previous start over this distance. On all the evidence we have seen at home, it looks to be the right trip for him.”

Bin Suroor said of his duo: “Racing History is a nice horse, who always goes well at home and has been enjoying his racing in Dubai. This is a good distance for him, and I am looking for another pleasing performance.

“Team Talk ran well to finish second over this course and distance last time. He has been doing well at home and was fourth in this race last year, so I am hoping for another nice run.”

Silva romped home by nine and three-quarter lengths in the UAE 1000 Guineas, and bids to double up in the UAE Oaks.

Among the opposition for Pia Brandt’s filly are the Appleby-trained Divine Image and bin Suroor’s Dubai Beauty, who were second and fourth respectively to her last time.

Appleby said: “Divine Image is a lightly-raced filly, and her inexperience counted against her in the UAE 1000 Guineas when she missed the break. She has come out of that race well and has experience now on the surface, which should aid her chances.”

Bin Suroor said: “Dubai Beauty has been disappointing so far this year. She won well first time out at Newmarket last season, when she showed some class, and I am hoping that the extra distance might bring about an improved performance.”

Irish trainer David Marnane believes Alfredo Arcano should be in tip-top shape for the Land Rover Discovery Handicap, following his comeback run two weeks after having a slight setback.

A stone bruise forced the sprinter to miss an intended engagement and some serious exercise, and he finished midfield behind Mazzini.

Alfredo Arcano had only been beaten half-a-length when fourth to Dream Ahead in January, and Jamie Osborne’s charge is again in opposition.

“We just felt he needed the run the last day after getting a stone bruise and missing an important work and a couple of days or racing,” said County Tipperary-based Marnane.

“He worked well at the weekend, and we’re happy to let him take his chance.”

In the Range Rover Velar Handicap, Marnane runs Freescape, who belied his odds of 33-1 when third to Mubtasim in a seven-furlong handicap.

The trainer is hoping the step up to a mile will help him overcome his wide draw from stall 16.

“He’s obviously coming off a good run,” said Marnane.

“Unfortunately, he’s drawn pretty wide. He’s a hold-up horse at that trip, so we’ll just have to hope.

“He’s come forward for the run again, and he’s in a great place. He just needs a bit of luck running.”

Wootton primed for Zabeel on stable debut
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