Saeed bin Suroor hopes Royal Marine can prove as effective on a dirt surface by stamping his authority over his rivals in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan on Thursday.
After signing off last season with victory in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp in October, the son of Raven’s Pass will face a field of 12 rivals as he bids to give the Newmarket handler his first win in the mile conditions contest since 2016.
Bin Suroor said: “Royal Marine is a very good horse and is doing well. He has enjoyed the climate here and has been working well. He looks healthy.
“It will be interesting to see if he handles the dirt for future races. I expect him to run well on it. If he does, we can look at the UAE 2000 Guineas the UAE Derby.
“The plan was to run him in Dubai to give him a chance to run in these races. If doesn’t handle it, we will keep him in Dubai and ready him for the European season.”
Last season’s UAE 2000 Guineas winner Gold Town, from the yard of Charlie Appleby, will make his first start of the year in Round One of the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge, in which the Sandeep Jadhav-trained Heavy Metal will bid for back-to-back victories.
The valuable six-furlong handicap sprint sees some well-known names taking part.
David Barron’s Above The Rest is top-weight, with David O’Meara’s Intisaab, the Bin Suroor-trained Major Partnership and Jamie Osborne’s newcomer Dream Today others among the 13 runners.
Bin Suroor also holds strong claims in the Special Olympics Cup through Glassy Waters and Welsh Lord, while Syphax, formerly with Kevin Ryan, is looking to bounce back to his best.
The William Haggas-trained Original Choice is drawn one in the Cepsa Energy Cup, in which Joseph O’Brien runs King’s Field.