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Thursday, February 24, 2005



MAJESTIC DESERT TO SHINE IN THE BALANCHINE




Mick Channon's Majestic Desert should take all the beating in Friday's US$150,000 Balanchine Stakes, sponsored by Shadwell Farm, for fillies and mares over 1,777 metres on the turf at the eighth meeting of the Dubai International Racing Carnival.

Majestic Desert, the mount of UAE Champion Ted Durcan, finished a disappointing eighth in the Cape Verdi on the turf three weeks ago, she has however shown that she is a talented filly and that run is best forgotten.

Ribella, trained in Turkey by Haldun Gunes, came with a perfectly timed run under Halis Karatas, to win the Cape Verdi by a neck from the Mike de Kock-trained pair of Moon Dazzle and Emerald Beauty, the trio face each other again on Friday.


Clive Brittain runs his Italian Oaks winner Menhoubah, who will have to improve on her last run here when she finished last here February 17th over 2,000 metres on the turf, Eddie Ahern takes the ride on the daughter of Dixieland Band.

Saeed bin Suroor, who won last year's Balanchine Stakes with Gonfilia, runs the Frankie Dettori-partnered Mansfield Park, seventh to Ribella in the Cape Verdi, and the Kerrin McEvoy-ridden Forty Marchanta, a Grade One winner in Argentina.


Dhruba Selvaratnam and Pat Smullen team up with Brindisi, fifth place behind Ribella last time, with trainer Erwan Charpy running Arlecchina, who finished just behind Brindisi in the Cape Verdi.

The Shadwell Farm and Derrinstown Stud meeting begins at 6.50pm with the US$40,000 Bani Yas for Purebred Arabians in which the Satish Seemar-trained Big Easy is looking for his second successive victory in the 1,200 metre sprint.

Mazin Al Kurdi's San Salvador looks the pick in the second race of the evening, the US$110,000 Alhaarth International Stakes, sponsored by Derrinstown Stud, over the straight 1,000 metres. International contenders include the Dean Maroun-trained National Icon, a winner in South Africa over Friday's trip.


Fabricio Borges' Sleipner, was a disappointment at Nad Al Sheba last week but he should have come on for the run and may be worth watching.

King Jock, who last week gave his trainer Dermot Weld his 3,000th career victory, will be looking for back to back Carnival wins when he lines up in the third race, the US$110,000 Dayjur International Rated Stakes, sponsored by Shadwell Farm, over 1,600 metres on the turf.


John Gosden's Little Good Bay was running on well last weekend when finishing third to Majors Cast and should have come on for that run, Willie Supple takes the ride.

Gypsy Johnny, trained by Al Kurdi and ridden by Durcan, has a chance in the fourth race, the US$30,000 Almutawakel Conditions Race for three-year-olds over 1,700 metres, sponsored by Derrinstown Stud. The son of Bachir finished second, beaten three lengths, to Stagelight in the UAE 2000 Guineas on February 10th.


Other to take note of include the De Kock trained Italian champion Becrux, who was disappointing in the UAE 2000 Guineas but should be given another chance here. Fourth to Stagelight was the Brittain-trained Kandidate, who was a dual winner on the all-weather in the UK and has definite place claims.

Singapore based trainer John Meagher bids for his second Carnival winner when he runs Lim's Grand in the US$110,000 Sahm International Rated Stakes, sponsored by Shadwell Farm, over 1,600 metres on the turf.

Lim's Grand, the mount of Dettori, was third only beaten a length by Twilight Blues on his first Carnival start on February 3rd.

Seemar's Bianconi is looking for his second Carnival victory following on from his win on February 3rd. Durcan partners the son of Rambo Dancer in the US$110,000 Marju International Rated Stakes, sponsored by Derrinstown Stud, over 2,000 metre on the turf.


Philip Mitchells' Corriolanus looks the pick in the final race of the evening, the US$120,000 Elnadim International Rated Stakes, sponsored by Derrinstown Stud, over 2,400 metres on the turf. Richard Hughes rides the son of Zamindar who was a course and distance winner on February 11th.

The danger to Corriolanus looks to be the Jerry Barton-trained Taif who has been runner-up on both of his outings during the Carnival.


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