Feature Story



Marcus Townend - 

Dubai regular Ian Williams will target the Middle East circuit with a select squad of horses headed by recruits from Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin stable. 
Leading the team is Silent Film, a five-year-old gelding bought by Williams at the Ascot Sales for £120,000. He won seven-furlong handicaps at Meydan and Bahrain in 2022 and was third at Meydan under William Buick in February. 
Silent Film, a gelded son of New Approach who races in the colours of Fitri Hay, was last seen on a track in September when easily winning a race at the historic Kincsem Park in Budapest, Hungary, when he was ridden by Frankie Dettori as part of the jockey’s farewell European tour.

Williams is also bringing Parlando to the Middle East. The son of Dubawi won for Appleby as a two-year-old at Leicester in 2021. He races in the trainer’s colours and has been placed in all his four runs since being bought for £105,000, most recently finishing second at Newcastle over a mile on November 15. 

Williams said: “Fitri Hay is a very big supporter of racing in Dubai. She likes to have runners there. Silent Film has had a break and been freshened up particularly for Dubai. He was a horse we thought would appreciate conditions there. He has run well there and in Bahrain and has travelled well in the past.
“Parlando has run well this summer. He picked up a hind limb injury when he was struck into when he finished third at Wolverhampton in September. He too has had a break and put in a very pleasing comeback run at Newcastle which will put him spot on.”

The first member of the Williams’ Middle East squad to run is Duc De Kent, a recruit from France where he won two races at Cagnes-Sur-Mer in February for trainer Fabrice Vermeulen. 

The son of Zelzal races for Deva Racing, who have horses in the UAE with Bhupat Seemar. He has been entered in a race in Bahrain next week.
Williams added: “He was strong performer in France and is fairly handicapped. He came out of a sale in France during the Summer. He is another who is being specifically prepared for this circuit.”

Williams developed an affinity for racing in Dubai with consistent sprinter Sir Maximilian, who raced 20 times at Meydan between 2015 and 2018, winning twice.
Last season the Williams-trained stayer Enemy scooped £50,000 when successful in the Dubai Racing Club Classic
in January before lifting his prizemoney haul to almost £500,000 with second place in the Red Sea Handicap in 
Saudi Arabia.

The trainer said: “Dubai is always good fun for the owners. The added value to the good prizemoney is that it is a great environment for horses to spend their winters.
“Last season Enemy’s runs were magnificent, not just from the horse’s performance, but the prizemoney he picked up. It can make a huge difference to your season. It is great to have the opportunity to take horses there.”