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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Mark of Excellence at MeydanHeadlines
Pure Excellence (left)

Connections of Pure Excellence admit they are "living in a dream world" ahead of the filly's bid for Dubai glory in Thursday's UAE 1000 Guineas at Meydan.

The Mark Johnston-trained three-year-old enjoyed a superb juvenile campaign and signed off with a Listed triumph at Newmarket in November.

She carries the colours of Excellence Racing, whose spokesman, Andrew Bell, admits to have a runner at Meydan with the first horse the syndicate have owned is way beyond his expectations.

Bell said: "We're looking forward to running her and I think she's ready to go. Deirdre (Johnston, trainer's wife) is very happy with her and Kieren Fallon has done all the work with her since she arrived and he's very pleased.

"We made the decision after she won her Listed race at Newmarket we would look to bring her to Dubai. The prize-money is so good and I think she deserves her place in this race.

"She was unbelievable last year. She started off winning a five-furlong maiden on fast ground at Beverley and ended up winning a Listed race over a mile on soft ground at Newmarket. She's got a lot of ability and is a really tough and genuine filly.

"It's fantastic to be here with her, we're living in a dream world, really. Our slogan as a syndicate is 'reaching for the stars', and that's what it's all about."

Pure Excellence features in a field of 10 runners in the one-mile Listed contest, with Ireland represented by David Marnane's More Than Sotka and the Pat Shanahan-trained My Special J's. That pair were third and fifth respectively in the 1000 Guineas trial three weeks ago.

The feature event on Thursday's card is the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, an extended nine-furlong Group Two which has attracted a top-quality line-up.

The Godolphin team are unsurprisingly well represented, with Saint Baudolino making his debut for Mahmood Al Zarooni, having shown very smart form in France when with Andre Fabre. Hunter's Light is another major contender for the Dubai-based operation.

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