By Dick Downey
The Group 2 UAE Derby was first run in 2000, but only two trainers have won the race. Saeed bin Suroor, with seven wins, doesn't have a horse this year, leaving Mike de Kock and Mickdaam the only chance to extend the streak.
Bin Suroor, trainer for Godolphin, has won with China Visit (2000), Express Tour (2001), Essence of Dubai (2002), Victory Moon (2003), Blues and Royals (2005), Discreet Cat (2006) and Regal Ransom (2009). De Kock has won five runnings of the race with Victory Moon (2003), Lundy's Liability (2004), Asiatic Boy (2007), Honour Devil (2008) and Musir (2010).
While Mickdaam will face some horses he beat in the Al Bastakiya last time out, he faces formidable new competition headed by Godolphin runner Helmet, an Australian-bred multiple group 1 winner trained by Peter Snowden.
Mahmoud Al Zarooni saddles the other two Godolphin runners. Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas winner Kinglet is among those defeated in the Al Bastakiya. Falls Of Lora will find this race a lot tougher than her sole local start -- but a filly, Bin Suroor's Khawlah, won last year.
Aidan O'Brien's Master Of Hounds just missed last year. He has Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Wrote and Daddy Long Legs, who won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes last year..
Three English-based horses will try to win.
Entifaadha, trained by William Haggas, has one start at the track -- he wasn't beaten by much in the Meydan Classic on turf. Richard Hills will ride for the last time aboard Entifaadha. Brian Meehan's Burano won the Meydan Classic. Red Duke, trained by John Quinn, is Triple Crown-nominated and could be competitive.
Lucky Chappy is said to be the smallest runner in the race, but he has accomplishments that will make him a wagering favorite. Japanese challenger Genten has been pleasing connections since arriving in Dubai.
Maritimer will make his first start for South African Herman Brown. France is represented with the unbeaten Balada Sale, making his first start for Pascal Bary. Yang Tse Kiang won a trial race at Chantilly just over three weeks ago.