Cosmopolitan caravan rolls into Dubai for Carnival time

 

These midwinter weeks, albeit proving rather milder than last year, to the significant benefit of the Levy, are invariably the bleakest in the Turf calendar. Many Cheltenham contenders are taking a break, leaving a suitably dim, half-lit quality to the January programme. It is with corresponding envy, then, that those jockeys shivering at Wolverhampton today will look up to the monitors in the weighing room and see various colleagues riding at the opening meeting of the 2012 Dubai Carnival.

A series of 16 fixtures reaches its climax on 31 March, when the Dubai World Cup card will again be the richest in history. In the meantime, 23 prizes of $100,000 (£64,000) or more will be contested at the breathtaking racecourse at Meydan. With the help of seductive travel subsidies, the eighth Carnival will be more cosmopolitan than ever. There were 200 international runners last year, up from 103 at the inaugural Carnival in 2004. This time, the organisers have accepted 220 out of 360 overseas applications, and those already in the quarantine barn include horses from Singapore, Brazil and Norway.

The Carnival begins with a two-day challenge between a dozen of the world's leading jockeys, but perhaps its most gratifying feature, from a British perspective, is its tendency to reward enterprise among some of the sport's less familiar names. Sadly, Roger Teal has been obliged to retire Steele Tango after the star of his Epsom stable suffered an injury in preparing for today's card. But the horse's achievements last year, when he won two handicaps together worth around £130,000, and also finished second in a Grade Two race, measured the rewards available to even small operators with sufficient ambition. Among those seeking to emulate Teal's example today are Michael Attwater, Julia Feilden and Paul Midgley.

The Carnival will again be a priority for the Godolphin horses wintering at Al Quoz. One of the key themes of 2012 will be the relative fortunes of the two Godolphin trainers, Saeed Bin Suroor having been unmistakably eclipsed in Europe last year by his promoted assistant, Mahmood al-Zarooni. The latter hopes to run Blue Bunting, his first British Classic winner, on the trials card on 10 March in preparation for the Sheema Classic. His possible contenders for the World Cup include Dubai Prince, Casamento and French Navy, while Al Zarooni nominates Zip Top as a likely type for the UAE Derby. This colt became Sheikh Mohammed's latest purchase from Jim Bolger after finishing second to the Investec Derby favourite, Camelot, in the Racing Post Trophy.

Big guns from the United States for whom a World Cup bid has been mentioned include Animal Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner, who missed the rest of last season after an injury in the Belmont Stakes; Game On Dude, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic; and the outstanding filly Royal Delta.

One or two home fires will still be stoked, however, and yesterday Nicky Henderson introduced yet another promising recruit. Though Oscar Nominee won only a maiden hurdle at Southwell, the manner of his 27-length success so impressed Ladbrokes that they introduced him at 16-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Festival.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Sundown Trail (2.10 Sedgefield) Needed his comeback, but renewed a progressive overall profile round here last time, looking equal to this mark.

Next Best

Pepite Rose (2.00 Ludlow) Held by Grams And Ounces on their meeting last week, but will come on for that, whereas the winner may be too short in the betting after a busy spell.

One to watch

Batonnier (Alan King) was tanking along in rear before weaving through for second at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, just flattening out on the hill after a lay-off.

Where the money's going

The sponsors saw immediate interest in Finian's Rainbow when opening a book yesterday on the Victor Chandler Chase, and he is 9-4 from 11-4 to win at Ascot a fortnight on Saturday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions