Barney Roy Returns In Al Rashidiya

There is no doubting the class of Charlie Appleby-trained Barney Roy.

BARNEY ROY Picture: Dubai Racing Club

In 10 lifetime starts, the Godolphin-owned gelding has shown immense form, including winning the 2017 St James's Palace Stakes (G1) and placing in three other G1s.

What is a query is whether he will be able to return to the same level that saw him once rated as high as 120 (currently 115) and finishing a nose astern multiple G1 winner Ulysses  in the Coral-Eclipse (G1) and a length behind champion Churchill in the 2000 Guineas (G1).

Now age six, he has made only three starts since a failed experiment at stud that precluded him from the entirety of 2018. He was a smart second to Zaaki  (subsequently eighth in the G1 Hong Kong Mile) in the Ascot Shop Paradise Stakes (Listed) before winning the Prix de Montretout (Listed) at Longchamp in late May and faltering to eighth as the lukewarm favourite in Royal Ascot's Queen Anne Stakes (G1).

On Thursday, the son of Excelebration is set to return in Meydan's $250,000 Al Rashidiya (G2), a race won by the likes of Right Approach, Presvis and Benbatl, who all went on to win the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1). If things go well for the earner of $793,503 in the 1800m grass test, his will subsequently point to Super Saturday's $400,000 Jebel Hatta (G1) on March 7 before his own attempt at the Dubai Turf over the same trip.

"He had that summer campaign (in 2019) and we purposely gave him a break with the Carnival in mind," Appleby said. "Where we are at the moment, we are working backward from the Jebel Hatta and obviously Benbatl not being declared now has opened that race."

The future remains a mystery for the charge, as coming back from failed stud tenures often seems to dull the shine of top-tier trainees, but there appears to be enough confidence resonating from his yard to assume that he has shown at least a portion of his previous brilliance. If that is the case, the future appears quite promising, per Appleby.

"If he were to bring his 'A-game,' or whatever he does Thursday evening, he's going to step forward for it," he concluded. "He's the class animal in the field there and he might just be good enough to get away with that slight lack of race fitness on Thursday. Hopefully that'll springboard him onto Super Saturday."

Barney Roy breaks from the outside post seven on Thursday. William Buick will be in the saddle against a field that includes G1-winning defending champ Dream Castle, G2-winning stablemate Loxley and G1-placed Mike de Kock trainee Majestic Mambo 

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