Fortify entered in U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas
Soft Falling Rain clinched champion two-year-old honors in his homeland after a perfect four-for-four season. The son of recently-deceased National Assembly looked every bit as impressive in his Dubai debut, leading every step of the way to win the Guineas Trial on January 17. Soft Falling Rain steps up another furlong in distance here, and as a Southern Hemisphere-bred, must concede 10 pounds to Fortify and the other, younger Northern Hemisphere sophomores.
De Kock has another Guineas hopeful in Zahee. A New Zealand-bred, Zahee was only fourth to Soft Falling Rain in the Trial.
Godolphin likewise has additional arrows in the quiver. Al Zarooni, who has sent out the last two Guineas winners, has another pair of possible runners in Snowboarder and Filfil, while his colleague Saeed bin Suroor has entered the filly Shuruq, runner-up in last Thursday's U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas.
Riding assignments, and post positions, will be announced when the field is finalized at Tuesday's declaration stage.
Two other Group 3s spice up the Guineas undercard -- the Al Shindagha Sprint, a stepping stone to the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen over this about six-furlong trip, and the Firebreak, a course-and-distance prep for the Group 2 Godolphin Mile.
Preliminary entries for the Al Shindagha Sprint include last year's Golden Shaheen upsetter Krypton Factor, defending champion Hitchens and Australian Group 1 star Mental, who would be debuting for bin Suroor.
The Firebreak could serve up a rematch between Barbecue Eddie and Out of Bounds, the respective top two from the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge Round 1, also at a metric mile, on January 10. Also notable on the list is Daddy Long Legs, the 2012 U.A.E. Derby winner for Aidan O'Brien, who is a new recruit to the de Kock yard.
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