Emotionless makes his dirt debut in the mile Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round One (20.50hrs local time), highlight of the opening fixture of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, January 5.
The four-year-old Shamardal colt was among the UK’s most exciting juveniles in 2015 following a scintillating win in Doncaster’s Group 2 Champagne Stakes, but was found to have chipped a bone in his knee after trailing home last in the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket the following month.
Emotionless, who is trained by Charlie Appleby, was restricted to two appearances over a mile last year, finishing fifth in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and coming home seventh in a Group 3 race at Goodwood in July.
He faces nine rivals on his seasonal return including the 2016 winner Le Bernardin, Group 2 UAE Derby second Polar River and Cool Cowboy, who was third in last year’s Group 2 Godolphin Mile. William Buick partners Emotionless, who is drawn in stall 10, for the fifth time.
Charlie Appleby commented: “Emotionless has done nothing but please us since his arrival in Dubai two months ago and has been acting well on the dirt surface at home.
“He was disappointing during his three-year-old season after meeting with some setbacks but looks to be in good shape at the moment.
“If we can rekindle his two-year-old form, then he is going to be a player on Thursday.
“On the dam’s side, his pedigree is all dirt. It is a proper dirt family – his dam won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, while his half-brothers include Group 2 winner Etched and Out Of Bounds, who was runner-up in this race in 2013.
“The negative is his lack of form last season, but he is a big horse and has been enjoying himself out here.”
Godolphin is also represented at Meydan on Thursday by Turkish Group 2 runner-up Silent Attack (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave), who takes on last season’s Group 1 Dubai Turf fourth Ertijaal in the Listed Singspiel Stakes over nine furlongs on turf.
American Hope (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon) and Flash Fire (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) go on turf in the seven-furlong Longines Dolce Vita Handicap, while Emirates Flyer (Saeed bin Suroor/Colm O’Donoghue) runs on turf in the 12-furlong Longines La Grande Classique Handicap.