Culminating with the 1900m UAE Derby (Group 2, $2.5 million) on the historic and highly anticipated 25th anniversary of the Dubai World Cup card, Mar. 28, the 12-race series includes an impressive breadth of races, including turf, dirt, sprint, route, colt and filly fixtures—all with a minimum purse of $100,000.
The series kicks off with three one-turn races, the 1400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial for fillies on opening night, Jan. 2, the 1200m (turf) Dubai Trophy on Jan. 9 and the 1600m UAE 2000 Guineas Trial, also on Jan. 9. Last year, Phoenix Ladies Syndicate’s Walking Thunder parlayed an opening night maiden victory into a similarly dominant result in the 2000 Guineas Trial.
Turf runners have three more races throughout the season, the 1400m Meydan Classic Trial ($100,000) on Feb. 6, 1900m Meydan Trophy ($100,000) on Feb. 13 and 1600m Meydan Classic (Listed, $175,000). In 2019, Simon Crisford-trained Group 3 winner Sporting Chance landed the Meydan Classic, while Ahmad bin Harmash-conditioned Meydan Classic Trial winner Golden Jaguar went on to earn a spot in the UAE Derby.
Males taking the dirt route to the UAE Derby have lucrative prep options in the 1900m Al Bastakiya Trial ($100,000) on Jan. 23, 1600m UAE 2000 Guineas (Group 3, $250,000) on 1900m Al Bastakiya (Listed, $300,000) (pictured above) on Super Saturday, Mar. 7.
Fillies have the option of staying within their sex and competing in the 1600m UAE 1000 Guineas (Listed, $250,000) on Jan. 23 and 1900m UAE Oaks (Group 3, $250,000) on Feb. 20 before possibly stepping up against the boys in the UAE Derby. In 2019, standout Godolphin filly Divine Image dipped into both pools, winning the UAE Oaks and Al Bastakiya before starting favoured in the UAE Derby.
In other news for the Carnival Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has reported that Ghaiyyath, who disappointed in 10th over soft ground in Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Group 1) at Paris-Longchamp, will point toward the $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1) and may train up to the 2400m race. Appleby is looking for a hat trick in the race that immediately precedes the Dubai World Cup.
Hong Kong’s dual Horse of the Year Beauty Generation is pointing toward the $6 million Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (Group 1), per trainer John Moore. The world’s highest-rated miler set a 1400m course record in his seasonal comeback last week in the Celebration Cup (Group 3) at Sha Tin and has now won 10 consecutive races, including four at the Group 1 level.