Dual St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov has likely run his last race as he recovers from a neck injury sustained in the stalls at the Dubai World Cup.

The Roger Varian-trained five-year-old was due to contest the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on Saturday to kick off his 2024 campaign after landing the Irish St Leger on his final run last season.

He was loaded into the stalls but another horse kicked out and unsettled him, causing him to rear up and hit his head before being withdrawn from the contest.

The son of Dubawi was sent to the local equine hospital and later treated by two specialist vets who flew over from America at the request of owner Shaikh Khalid.

Eldar Eldarov has undergone an operation on a fracture to his neck and though he is not out of the woods, there are encouraging signs of his recovery after the procedure.

“He had an operation on Tuesday to stabilise a fracture in his neck, initially when he was in that post-operative phase, he had a rough time of things but he’s making progress now,” said Chris Wall, racing manager for Shaikh Khalid’s organisation.

“It will be small steps, he’s got a long way to go but the future is looking brighter than it did 48 hours ago.

“He’s in good hands in the equine hospital in Dubai, they’ve done a very good job so far.

“We flew in two vets from America who said they thought they’d be able to do something for him and they have.

“We are thankful and grateful to them, and to Shaikh Khalid for insisting that we left no stone unturned to try to give the horse a future.

“He still has quite a long way to go, he’s by no means in the clear yet, but the progress report this morning (Wednesday) was positive and he’s moving in the right direction.”

Eldar Eldarov’s future will either be at stud or in complete retirement, depending on how he fares in his recuperation.

“I think we can safely say he won’t be returning to racing, it’s now a question of whether he can do a stud job or whether he just has a happy retirement somewhere,” said Wall.

“We’ll have to see, that all depends on how his recovery goes and it’s a bit early to say for certain.”

Facteur Cheval is likely to head to Royal Ascot after his Dubai World Cup night heroics in Meydan.

Jerome Reynier’s five-year-old has been the most consistent of operators when campaigning predominantly over a mile, finishing no worse than third in six starts in top company last season and ending the campaign by chasing home Big Rock at Ascot on British Champions Day.

Upped in distance to nine furlongs for a red-hot renewal of the Dubai Turf, the French challenger finally got his moment in the spotlight, revelling around the turns of Meydan to prevail by a short head in the hands of Maxime Guyon.

Further international assignments could be on the horizon once a trip to Royal Ascot for the meeting-opening Queen Anne Stakes is out of the way, with connections keen to explore more opportunities to race around a bend.

“I think the conditions favoured him and he’s more of an American type of horse to tell the truth,” said Barry Irwin, CEO of Team Valor, who own the horse in partnership with Gary Barber.

“I think he wants to run on a round track and with a pace to run at.

“He can handle any kind of surface, but I think he prefers a sounder surface and most of those races in Europe he ran in when he was finishing second and third, they were too tactical – especially in France, where they go so slow – and he doesn’t have that instant burst of speed.

“I think now we have figured out what he enjoys doing, we’re going to figure out a programme around that.

“We will go to Ascot probably and run in the Queen Anne because it’s an exciting race and people would like to see it, but after that I think we will focus on international races on a round course.”

Facteur Cheval could also be seen plying his trade on dirt before the end of the year, having impressed in his trackwork on that particular surface out in the Middle East.

Although no concrete plans are made, that would bring some valuable prizes in America into the equation, including the season-ending Breeders’ Cup, which this year takes place at Del Mar in November.

“Another thing is, he trained great on the dirt over there in Meydan and I think we will try him on that also,” continued Irwin.

“I wouldn’t run him in the Breeders’ Cup Mile because that is two turns and at Del Mar it is too tight a turf course and he’s too big a horse to adapt to that.

“Santa Anita would be a little better but a mile and a quarter on dirt is something we will take a good look at. We haven’t planned anything yet after Ascot, but after that every option is open.”

Irwin also reserved special praise for the son of Ribchester’s handler, who he credits with formulating the successful Dubai Turf plan.

He added: “I’ve got to give all my credit to my trainer and he figured the whole thing out.

“He took a chance not prepping the horse beforehand and he knew what he had. For a young guy, he is quite the thinker and a very impressive individual.”

Spirit Dancer is set for a well-earned break after finishing lame in his bid for further international honours in Saturday’s Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan.

Richard Fahey’s charge has enjoyed a hugely productive winter on foreign soil, carrying the red and white silks of part-owner and breeder Sir Alex Ferguson to victory in the Bahrain International Trophy before claiming an even more lucrative success in the Neom Turf Cup in Riyadh.

The seven-year-old was unable to land a blow when stepped up in class on Dubai World Cup night, finishing 11th of 12 runners, but was subsequently found to have sustained an injury.

“He has a chip in his joint I’m afraid, so he did pull up lame,” Fahey said on Tuesday.

“It (injury) won’t have helped. It was a messy sort of race as he sort of dropped in and never got back into it, but that can’t have helped.

“He was due for a holiday anyway and he’ll get it now. He’s fit enough to travel and we’ll sort him out when we get him home.

“It’s been a fantastic winter with him and he’s got the money in the bank to prove it!”

While Fahey is keen to get his charge back to his North Yorkshire base before committing to future targets, there is every chance Spirit Dancer will be stamping his passport again later in the year.

The trainer added: “I’d be keen to go back there (Dubai) again next year, so all roads and plans will lead to go there.

“I’ve got Hong Kong in my mind as well, so we’ll see. He could have a couple of runs over here and then head back over there.”

Rebel’s Romance caused a surprise in the Dubai Sheema Classic, in which dual Derby winner Auguste Rodin finished last.

While Charlie Appleby’s six-year-old did win the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2022, he was well beaten in the corresponding race 12 months ago and looked to be up against it in a field stacked with quality.

Along with Auguste Rodin, who is developing an all-or-nothing reputation, there was Emily Upjohn, Spirit Dancer and Japanese challengers Liberty Island and Stars On Earth.

The pace was pedestrian, set by Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale, but only William Buick on the eventual winner and Liberty Island were keen to stay close to it.

With half a mile to run, that trio had opened up a sizeable gap on the remainder of the field and when Buick kicked on to take up the running well over a furlong out, the writing was on the wall.

A strong stayer at the trip, Rebel’s Romance, who won the UAE Derby back in 2021, galloped all the way to the line, with Shahryar, Liberty Island and Justin Palace, all from Japan, taking minor honours. Emily Upjohn fared best of the rest just behind but Auguste Rodin offered nothing.

Appleby said: “He’d won a Breeders’ Cup Turf and four Group Ones, yet he was 20-1, which showed just how deep a race it was.

“William told me he had a plan but I told him not to tell me, then I couldn’t roast him if it went wrong!

“We were confident the right thing to do was go forward and heading down the back, I felt confident because I knew the fractions weren’t strong.

“William knows this track so well and did everything right.

“To have a winner tonight, on what has been a really international night, to get one on the board for Godolphin and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed is very pleasing.”

The Newmarket handler added: “It was our last throw of the darts, but we were confident he was in as good a place as we could get him. He went to Kempton and then had a great ride in Qatar from William.

“He has travelled a lot but we were confident he was at his best. Plan A was to go forward to give the horse the best chance to run his best race.

“This whole night is a huge space in the racing calendar that everyone will aim for. You’ve got to look after these horses and make sure you don’t give them one race too many.

“We toyed with the Champions & Chater Cup in Hong Kong next, but we will enjoy today and he deserves a bit of a rest.”

Buick commented: “He showed in Qatar that he can still perform from the front or close to it. He has a big stride and we decided to get across and somewhere near the action. We were given an easy lead off easy fractions. I was surprised he was in his comfort zone, going easily.”

Roger Varian is taking the positives out of Charyn’s easy victory at Doncaster on Saturday ahead of Eldar Eldarov’s run in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan.

Winner of the St Leger at Doncaster in 2022, he added another Group One when successful in the Irish version last season.

That was his last outing of the year, with connections electing to bypass Champions Day at Ascot, but he has been in training for a while ahead of his trip to Dubai.

The race is over two miles, however, a distance over which Eldar Eldarov has yet to win at.

“Everything has gone to plan and hopefully the victory of Charyn is a plus,” said Varian.

“They are different types of horse but they have been doing a lot of work on a similar programme because they both had early-season targets.

“So Charyn winning hopefully tells me that Eldar is probably ready, so we are looking forward to it.

“I just wish it was a mile and six (furlongs) because he seems to love the mile and six trip – but two miles around there should be OK.”

Cinderella’s Dream enhanced her Classic claims in overcoming huge adversity to land the Jumeirah 1000 Guineas at Meydan.

Following low-key wins at Lingfield and Thirsk, the daughter of Shamardal made an impressive Dubai debut in last month’s Jumeirah Fillies Classic – a race won last year by Saeed bin Suroor’s Mawj, who not only followed up in the Jumeirah Guineas but also went on to land the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Cinderella’s Dream was extremely short odds to maintain her unbeaten record on ‘Super Saturday’, but disaster almost struck at the halfway stage as William Buick’s saddle slipped forward, prompting the dual champion jockey to kick his feet out of the irons for the remainder of the race.

Buick could do little more than sit and suffer from the home turn, but it did not prevent Charlie Appleby’s charge from going through the gears and she pulled five and a half lengths clear of the Amy Murphy-trained Geologist with the minimum of fuss.

Paddy Power cut Cinderella’s Dream to 12-1 from 16-1 for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5, and Buick had nothing but praise for the three-year-old following her latest triumph.

“She took a hold early and she’s only quite slight, so when I took a pull my saddle slightly went up in front of me, and then when the pace slackened her going into the turn and I steadied her off heels, it went up again,” he told the Dubai Racing Club.

“I’m not sure what you could see on the TV, but I was getting a bit unbalanced up her neck, so the safest thing to do was to kick my feet out (of the stirrups) and she’s still managed to win.

“She was very professional, it was a bit of a rodeo show really but she got the job done.

“She’s really progressing and she’s won as she liked with no help at all. I think she’s done really well and with each start she keeps doing things better, so you’d be very happy with that.”

Cinderella’s Dream emerged as a potential Qipco 1000 Guineas contender after maintaining her unbeaten record with a thoroughly impressive victory in the Jumeirah Fillies Classic at Meydan.

One of four winners on the card for trainer Charlie Appleby and the first leg of a treble for jockey William Buick, the the Shamardal filly had won her first two starts at a fairly low-key level at Lingfield and Thirsk in September.

However, she looks more than ready to hold her own in better company judged on a dominant comeback victory in a race won 12 months ago by Saeed bin Suroor’s subsequent Guineas heroine Mawj.

“She was there for me the whole way and is still learning on the job, having only had two previous runs before this evening,” said Buick.

“But once I put her in between horses, it was just about trying to follow the right ones and she was there instantly. It was a very nice performance from a filly who I think is progressing.

“Mawj won this race last and she ended up winning the next round of this series and then won the 1000 Guineas, so she’s in good company.

“I think she’s going to progress, so I wouldn’t want to rule anything out.”

Appleby and Buick also successfully combined in the Listed Dubai Sprint with Mischief Magic.

The Exceed And Excel gelding was a winner at the 2022 Breeders’ Cup meeting but endured a largely disappointing three-year-old campaign last season and Buick is hoping he might be able to rediscover his best form following this clear-cut success.

He added: “I knew I had plenty of horse and I knew the gap would eventually be there for him. When you look through his form as a two-year-old, that’s how he was always ridden and don’t forget he’s a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner, so the quality is there.

“Let’s hope he’s on the way to reaching those heights again. We all know how tough it can be for a three-year-old sprinter, so hopefully he’s strengthened up and he’s more the finished article.”

Appleby made it a treble in the Dubai Millennium Stakes, but it was his apparent second string Warren Point who upset his better fancied stablemate New London to secure Group Three honours.

The winner was still nearer last than first approaching the final furlong, but fairly flew home under an ice-cool Mickael Barzalona to deny Jamie Osborne’s Sean by a short head.

Osborne also saddled the third-placed Solid Stone, with 4-6 favourite New London only fourth.

Barzalona said: “The horse did very well as he was a bit strong at the beginning. I had the chance to come wide, but I thought it was a bit too early to come around the horses, so I tried to go on the inside and I was stuck. He was able to pick up to win it and he’s a talented horse.”

Winner number four for Appleby and three for Buick was provided by Legend Of Time, who readily followed up his course win of four weeks ago and justified cramped odds in the Jumeirah Guineas.

“He’s a horse who has only improved, he won the trial for this race very well over seven furlongs and we always thought he was going to improve for stepping up to a mile tonight,” said the jockey.

“I think he’s progressing the whole time and hopefully he’s a nice horse in the making. His ability enables him to win over shorter distances, but I think we’ll see the best of him over 10 furlongs.

Asked whether Legend Of Time could develop into a Derby contender, Buick added: “It’s hard to stand here in early February and say that, but we hope so. That’s what these horses are here to do, so let’s hope he can make those necessary steps to put himself in that picture.”

Saeed bin Suroor is considering a return to America with his top-class filly Mawj following her disappointing return to action at Meydan last week.

The Exceed And Excel filly provided her trainer with a first British Classic success in 14 years when edging out Tahiyra in last season’s 1000 Guineas at Newmarket – and while she missed the summer through injury, she made a triumphant comeback in a Grade One at Keeneland in October.

Mawj very nearly followed up in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, going down by just a nose to fellow Godolphin runner Master Of The Seas, but weakened quickly to trail home last of nine runners on her four-year-old debut in the Group One Jebel Hatta in Dubai.

Bin Suroor reports his stable star to be none the worse, but has now shelved plans to run her again in his homeland and is instead eyeing a trip to the United States before her eventual return to Britain.

“She has come back well after the race, she was a little bit quiet afterwards and we were disappointed with her,” the trainer admitted.

“There is nothing wrong with her at all, she has come back sound, but she was quiet after the race.

“Now we will look for a race for her, maybe in America in April time. There is a race over a mile at Keeneland and that could be one of the options, then she’ll be back in Europe to run in European races.

“Sometimes things happen in racing, but I spoke to Oisin (Murphy) after the race and there was nothing wrong with her, but it was not her day.

“There are no more races for her in the UAE, as we want to come back to the mile. I know she has won over nine furlongs in the past, but that was against fillies and I think she is better at a mile.”

Measured Time capped a fine evening for Charlie Appleby and owners Godolphin when winning the Jebel Hatta at Meydan in great style.

The 6-5 favourite was the pick of three runners for the Moulton Paddocks handler in the nine-furlong Group One and was never far away, tracking the pace set by the stablemate Highland Avenue, while also keeping a close eye on Saeed bin Suroor’s 1000 Guineas heroine Mawj.

The son of Frankel proved to be in the ideal spot to strike rounding the turn for home and stormed clear when big-race pilot William Buick pressed the button, surging to a one-and-three-quarter-length success from Appleby’s Ottoman Fleet, who stayed on to provide Appleby with a one-two in the ‘Fashion Friday’ feature.

Having taken his record to five victories from six starts, the four-year-old’s Jebel Hatta success earns him a spot in the Dubai Turf on Dubai World Cup night, with his trainer confirming that would be next on the agenda.

“That was our pencilled plan coming into this evening,” said Appleby.

“Master Of The Seas was due to go to America for the Pegasus and with this horse coming through the grades, we weren’t 100 per cent sure he would book his ticket, so we didn’t send Master Of The Seas thinking he could definitely be a runner on World Cup night in the Dubai Turf as well.

“This horse has gone and won his invitation into it and now has a great chance of a bonus. I would rather have two darts than one.

“He’s a half-brother to Rebel’s Romance and we know what that horse has done over a mile and a half and that’s why we started going that route. When he ran with a hood at Kempton, Will felt he just felt numb and having removed the hood since then, it’s been the changing of him.”

Recent carnival winner Mysterious Night (11-10 favourite) got the evening up and running for Sheikh Mohammed’s racing operation when Buick weaved his way to the front aboard Appleby’s four-year-old in the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort.

“The gap looked like it was open and then it was closing, but I had already committed and I’m just delighted he is showing his class now,” said Buick.

“It is a great training performance by Charlie and the team at home to bring him back just seven days after his win last week and he’s a horse we held in high-regard as a two-year-old, so I’m delighted he has shown us what he is capable of.

“He’s a horse who wears his heart on his sleeve and put in a big performance last week. He’s a horse who is still on the up.”

There was further success for the Moulton Paddocks handler when Star Of Mystery (7-4 favourite) supplemented her Al Wasl Stakes success by flying home in the hands of Mickael Barzalona to pip Czech speedster Ponntos in the shadow of the post.

Appleby said: “We’ll probably come back here on Super Saturday first and then look at what happens World Cup night.

“The six-furlong races back in Europe are a stiff six there and over five I think she gets into a better rhythm.

“Over six she just travels a little bit too generous, whereas over five they just put her on her head a little bit early doors and it just allows her to run the race the right way round.”

Appleby made it four on the night and Buick three as Siskany grabbed victory in a photo finish to the Al Khail Trophy.

The main action on the dirt saw Doug Watson land his first Group One winner with the Pat Dobbs-ridden Kabirkhan claiming the Al Maktoum Challenge in the manner of a horse well worth his place in the Dubai World Cup line-up.

“I’m excited and it’s our first Group One winner, it really means a lot,” said Watson.

“There’s not many of them for a stable like ours to run in, so it is really nice and I’m delighted for the owners – Pat gave him a great ride. I think we knew turning in where he was going and it’s just really nice to have such a nice horse.

“We will see what they (owner Tlek Mukanbetkaliyev) want to do and there is a third leg (of the Al Maktoum Challenge) on Super Saturday, but if they want to go straight to the World Cup, I would be very happy with that and he ran great after a long layoff from September so I don’t think it would be any problem getting him fit.”

Godolphin won the Group Two Cape Verdi at Meydan yet again – but not with the filly many expected, as Silver Lady held off her stablemate English Rose.

Both fillies are trained by Charlie Appleby but English Rose, the mount of William Buick, was a red-hot favourite given she headed into the contest on the back of winning both her starts at Newmarket and Kempton.

Silver Lady also won a Newmarket maiden but since then had run in Pattern company without success, with a third place in a Listed race at York on her second start the best she had managed in three subsequent outings.

She appeared to be regressing with racing, having finished last of 11 on her latest outing, but the daughter of Sea The Stars was rejuvenated by Mickael Barzalona.

Brought with a run with over a furlong to run, she took over from Shining Jewel and Hugo Palmer’s Stenton Glider, but English Rose was a persistent challenger on her outside.

Silver Lady managed to hold on, however, prevailing by a neck, with Stenton Glider fending off Nibras Angel for third.

Appleby was winning the race for the fifth time in six years, while Barzalona said: “She has a bit of temperament but I took her down steady and she settled well.

“During the race, the first part was pretty rough but when I found my position, she was able to take a big breath and she picked up well.

“I could feel my filly was not getting tired but William came pretty easily beside me. I think my filly showed a good attitude, I think the Balanchine will be next.”

Pat Dobbs produced a masterful ride on San Donato to claim Group Two glory in the Zabeel Mile at Meydan.

Doug Watson’s eight-year-old was travelling sweetly at the back of the field entering the home straight and Dobbs held his nerve by staying inside.

When the gaps appeared, San Donato slipped through them with ease and the 3-1 chance quickened clear to oblige by a length and a half from Marbaan.

“When he’s on song, he’s very good – he carries you into the race very well,” declared Dobbs. “I knew going down he was on fire today, he went down keen, which is good to see him like that.

“He’s obviously one that needs gaps to open for him, but when he is on song, he can take those gaps so quickly, he’s just very professional and a very good horse. I was very impressed.”

San Donato was a Listed winner at Doncaster as a juvenile for Roger Varian but switched to Watson to be campaigned in Dubai and Abu Dhabi after a lengthy absence.

Tuz absolutely romped home by eight and a half lengths at 7-1 in the Group Three Dubawi Stakes over six furlongs for trainer Bhupat Seemar and jockey Tadhg O’Shea.

The seven-year-old started out from stall 13 but soon made his way to the front and then simply ran his rivals ragged.

“When he’s good, he’s very good,” said O’Shea. “He’s got a lot of speed and he’s an exciting sprinter – he’ll give his roommate Switzerland something to think about in the coming weeks.”

Legend Of Time was the highlight of a William Buick treble when overcoming a wide draw in the Jumeirah Guineas Trial over seven furlongs, with Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old keeping on strongly to see off Shamrock Glitter by a length.

“I was very happy with him,” said Buick of the 5-4 scorer. “We did expect him to win, but he wasn’t done any favours when he got drawn in stall 14. The pace wasn’t overly strong, but he jumped pretty well and covered the ground.

“He’s a horse who is going to want further in time, I liked the way he did it, he’s a very progressive horse. That’s only his third start tonight, so he will only improve and I think you’ll see him improve when he steps up to a mile as well.

“I wouldn’t want to set a cap on him just yet, I think there’s improvement left in him, so hopefully he’ll progress and he can go through the ranks.”

Appleby’s Local Dynasty, a Pontefract Listed-class winner who was sixth in the November Handicap last time out, quickened up well late on to land the Zabeel Turf over 10 furlongs at 11-8, prevailing by three and a quarter lengths.

“He was very straightforward,” commented Buick. “The pace wasn’t overly strong and it was just about getting him not to do too much in the early stages.

“He finished off real good; when you go through his form, he’s never really run a bad race, so it’s nice to get his head back in front.

“When he ran in the November Handicap at Newcastle, it probably just stretched him a little bit, so I would say this is his optimum trip, for sure.”

Walbank, last seen running down the field at Royal Ascot, made a successful debut for new trainer George Boughey when staying on strongly to land the 16-runner AZIZI Venice handicap as a 6-4 favourite.

Buick said: “He had a long time off but he’s been here a while and they were very happy with him. He travelled beautifully throughout the race and saw it out really well, so I thought it was a decent performance.”

The Michael Costa-trained Ma Yetal proved his wide-margin debut win at Jebel Ali was no fluke when following up in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial on dirt.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.