Super Saturday: Laura King’s five most intriguing runners at Meydan

Meydan’s Super Saturday fixture is the official day of prep races for the Dubai World Cup meeting on March 26 and will no doubt see a few contenders emerge. UAE racing expert Laura King picks out five interesting runners to keep an eye on.

Turkey's Aegean Finale tackles the G1 Jebel Hatta. (Photo by Dubai Racing Club)

Laura King



Russian Emperor – G1 Jebel Hatta

Hong Kong trainer Douglas Whyte is taking a somewhat unusual route here, using the 1800m G1 Jebel Hatta (officially the prep for the G1 Dubai Turf) as a lead-up for the 2400m G1 Dubai Sheema Classic. In doing so, he’s landed his six-year-old in a fairly deep race, with four Godolphin horses to beat including Real World and Master Of The Seas.

But Russian Emperor has bags of talent and has arrived at Meydan in red hot form after his recent big-race success in Qatar. This distance is below his optimum, so perhaps best not to expect a win this time, but he has been Group 1-placed over a mile at Sha Tin in the past and he should still be running a good race as a sighter for the big one at the end of the month. Hong Kong’s last win in Dubai was back in 2016 when Rich Tapestry won the Al Shindagha Sprint.


Alberto Sanna celebrates Russian Emperor's G1 H.H. The Amir Trophy success. (Photo by QREC Photo)

Slava Ukraini – Listed Al Bastakiya

His name means ‘Glory to Ukraine’ and the Danish-bred colt’s five-strong ownership group includes one man who is based in the war torn country but who managed to make it to Meydan to see the horse run last month.

Gauging Slava Ukraini’s Danish form is not easy but trainer Niels Petersen’s three-year-old has run two good races this Carnival, finishing fifth and fourth, on turf, both times at odds of 50-1. The second of those was an improved effort and saw him beaten by less than two lengths over 2000 metres. The switch to dirt for the first time in the Listed Al Bastakiya over 1900m is an interesting move.

Al Dasim – G3 Nad Al Sheba Sprint

George Boughey is a trainer going places at a rapid pace so his runners are always worth a look. Al Dasim was the upwardly mobile Englishman’s first winner in Dubai and the colt has since made it two from two over the same course and 1200m distance he’ll go over in the G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.

In truth, he was probably the best of a mediocre bunch of three-year-old sprinters at this year’s Carnival, and he doesn’t have a great draw on Saturday taking on his elders for the first time. But this race isn’t all that strong either, so maybe he takes it to three from three, beats a few old boys for good measure and further enhances Boughey’s reputation.

Al Dasim contests the G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint. (Photo by Dubai Racing Club)

Aegean Finale – G1 Jebel Hatta

If Turkish raider Aegean Finale doesn’t win the G1 Jebel Hatta, it will be the end of a frustrating run in Dubai for his connections, who have seen him finish a close second twice. Last time out he was stopped for a clear run, charging home and only failing by a neck.

The four-year-old was trained by Batuhan Ay when winning the G2 Queen Elizabeth Cup at Ankara in October 2021 but switched to Orkun Ozelcanat for this Dubai campaign. After his two close misses at a mile, Aegean Finale is now up in trip and he has won his sole previous start at this 1800m distance. That all means he’s no forlorn hope to provide Turkey with their first Dubai winner since Pan River in 2010.

White Wolf – G2 Dubai City Of Gold

It will be a massive surprise if Godolphin go winner-less on Saturday, but White Wolf in the G2 Dubai City Of Gold is one of their less-heralded runners. The gelding was considered to be an Epsom Derby candidate last spring until only sixth of eight in the G2 Dante Stakes in May, at just his second start. A long break followed before he returned with a minor win at Wolverhampton in October, followed by a close second on his Carnival debut.

White Wolf has consistently been talked up by trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, who even tried to turn him into a Dubai World Cup horse by running him on dirt last time. That experiment failed, but he could materialise as a worthy G1 Sheema Classic contender if he can win what looks to be a weak edition of this 2400m lead-up.


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