Godolphin's American Triple Crown nominee MENDIP (Harlan's Holiday), who romped in the March 4 Al Bastakiya at Meydan, will try to take another step forward in Saturday's $2 million U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2) at the same Dubai track. To do so, the Saeed bin Suroor trainee must overcome South African champion MUSIR (Redoute's Choice), a four-year-old by Northern Hemisphere reckoning.
Musir impressed in the first leg of the Dubai Triple Crown, the about one-mile U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-G3), where the Mike de Kock trainee convincingly handled Godolphin's FROZEN POWER (Oasis Dream [GB]).
Musir skipped the middle leg, the Al Bastakiya, which Mendip won in commanding fashion from the South American-breds DELLA BARBA (Della Francesca) and ENAK (Orpen).
The Al Bastakiya is contested at the same about 1 3/16-mile distance as the U.A.E. Derby. While Mendip is already proven at the trip, Musir has never raced beyond the metric mile of the Guineas. De Kock has another U.A.E. Derby candidate who is accomplished at the distance -- the filly RAIHANA (Elusive Quality), who rolled to victory in the U.A.E. Oaks last out.
Raihana is one of three fillies in the 14-strong field. U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas heroine SIYAADAH (Shamardal), a well-beaten third to Raihana in the Oaks, hopes to rebound in this spot, while the Saudi-bred MAKAANAH (Race Leader) exits a narrow score in the King Abdulaziz Cup.
Mendip and Frozen Power are the only U.A.E. Derby entrants nominated to the American Triple Crown.