Frankie Dettori returns to action on the opening night of the 2021 Dubai World Cup carnival with six rides including one-time Derby hope Military March.
Dettori, who turned 50 last month, flew out out for the carnival on Tuesday and is set to compete for the first time since finishing second on Global Giant in the Bahrain International Trophy in November.
The Italian jockey combines with Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin for his five of his six rides, headlined by Military March, who finished fourth behind Kameko in last season’s 2,000 Guineas.
Unbeaten as a juvenile, Military March had Bin Suroor dreaming of Derby glory after his encouraging Guineas performance at Newmarket and had been as short as 5-1 for the Epsom Classic, but suffered an unfortunate setback in June.
However, the four-year-old is ready to return from his absence in the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes (4.15) alongside stablemate Dream Castle (Pat Cosgrave), a three-time winner at Meydan.
Bin Suroor said: “Military March will be making his first start since the 2,000 Guineas but he is in good form and has been working nicely. We are starting him off over nine furlongs on the turf to see how he gets on and he has been doing well at home.
“Dream Castle is a Group 1 winner over this course and distance at the carnival two years ago and he also ran some decent races at Meydan last season. He is ready to go again for hopefully another good campaign.”
Fellow Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby is well represented in the Singspiel with Zakouski, who has an unblemished record at Meydan, Mythical Magic and Art Du Val.
He said: “Zakouski comes into this race off the back of a pleasing win in a Newmarket Listed race at the end of October. He won both his starts at Meydan last season and returns a fit and well horse. We are confident he can be a leading player.
“Art Du Val is stepping back up from handicap company to Group level and we are testing the water to see whether he can set himself up for some of the other nice races over the coming weeks.
“Mythical Magic has excellent form over shorter at Meydan, including winning the Group 2 Zabeel Mile a couple of years ago. He is a seven-year-old now and we feel that nine furlongs around this course should suit. This will hopefully point us in which direction he heads for the rest of the carnival.”
Lord Glitters (David O’Meara), Kinross (Ralph Beckett) and Bless Him (David Simcock) also feature in the 11-runner field.
In the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort (5.25), Dettori rides Land Of Legends, with his stablemates Silver Line and Final Song joined by Appleby’s consistent D’Bai, Velorum and Glorious Journey, while Ken Condon is represented by Could Be King.
On a card which also features two Group races on dirt, Dettori’s remaining rides are Dubai Icon (2.30), Desert Fire (3.05), Gifts Of Gold (4.50) and Equilateral (6.00), second in last season’s King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, for trainer Charlie Hills.