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Acklam Express returns to action with World Cup night the aim

Acklam Express is back from a 248-day absence in the Blue Point Sprint on Friday – and trainer Nigel Tinkler is relishing the chance to return his star sprinter to the Meydan turf he showed a real liking for 12 months ago.

A three-time winner in his juvenile season, the son of Mehmas placed in all three appearances in Dubai in 2021, culminating in a fine effort to get within a length of winner Extravagant Kid when third in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night.

He was then sighted only twice domestically in the summer, well beaten when sent off favourite for the Listed Westow Stakes at York, before finishing a six-length 10th of 16 in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

However, Tinkler believes those performances are nothing to worry about and it was the plan all along to save Acklam Express for the place he loves best.

Nigel Tinkler has high hopes for Acklam Express
Nigel Tinkler has high hopes for Acklam Express (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “I thought he ran very well in the Kings Stand, but we put him away knowing we were going to come here.

“It’s great prize money out in Dubai and basically that three-year-old career in England is very difficult, so we thought we’d forfeit it a little and allow him time to grow. He’s much stronger now, so that’s the main reason why we chose not run him.”

Having had time to mature and strengthen up, Tinkler is happy with the four-year-old ahead of a Group Two contest in which he finished second to Equilateral last season.

He is the second-favourite behind Godolphin’s Lazuli, who drops back in trip having finished second in a Listed race over six furlongs last time.

“The horse is really well, he’s a complete professional and loves it out in Dubai. He’s in great order and as fit as we can have him without a run and we’re very happy with him,” Said Tinkler, who is targeting the same three Meydan races as last season.

“We’ve brought him here for three races – Friday, Super Sunday and if all goes to plan, World Cup night.

“After that he’ll have a little break and we might work towards the King’s Stand, but afterwards I imagine we’ll sit down and have a board meeting and it would be no surprise if we did the same again, put him away and come back to Dubai early next year.

“He doesn’t need that many races and we’ll just play it by ear.”

Charlie Appleby’s Manobo is the potential star turn in the other Group race on the card, the Nad al Sheba Trophy over 14 furlongs.

The four-year-old is unbeaten in four starts to date, graduating from a debut success over dual Classic-placed runner Mojo Star to ultimately win the Group Two Prix Chaudenay at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend.

Shahama bids to supplement her UAE 1000 Guineas success with victory in the UAE Oaks, with the filly unbeaten in three runs for Fawzi Nass.

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