Krypton Factor struck a huge blow for Bahrain trainer Fawzi Nass when finishing off the race best of all under the powerful urgings of Kieren Fallon to wear down defending champion Rocket Man and Felix Coetzee, drawing away in the final 100m to win the Group 1 US$ 2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News by two and a quarter lengths.
Rocket Man broke alertly from gate 1 to take an early but never uncontested lead. He was pressed all the way in the early stages by U.S challenger Giant Ryan who led briefly going into the turn before Rocket Man reasserted.
At the head of the straight Rocket Man found more and looked briefly to have shaken off the pursuing pack, but it was quickly apparent that danger was lurking behind in the shape of Krypton Factor, whom Fallon had launched in pursuit of the Singapore champion. The gap narrowed and Krypton Factor ran on to wear down the long-time leader, and win a shade cosily at the wire.
Of the remainder Hong Kong sprinter Lucky Nine ran on to be third under Brett Prebble two further lengths adrift, with a further length back to Hitchens and Silvestre De Sousa in fourth.
The win marked a first thoroughbred success at the Dubai World Cup for the Kingdom of Bahrain, and afterwards a delighted Fawzi Nass said, “He had never faced competition as tough as this, but we still felt confident going into the race. We knew there would be a lot of pace, so thought it would be best to sit off it. Then Kieren angled him out and that was that. We may go to Singapore next and we’ll be thinking about Royal Ascot as well depending on how things go.”
Winning jockey Kieren Fallon said, “This horse has continued to improve all through the Dubai World Cup Carnival, and I knew he was in good form. He was always going well for me tonight and I’d love to ride him at Royal Ascot.”
Rocket Man’s jockey Felix Coetzee was gracious in defeat, saying: “He’s such a professional. Going to the start he was composed and knew exactly what was going on. He flew out so fast and landed in front and was going well in front, though he was being pressed by the American horse, which wasn’t ideal, but he never stopped.”
Disappointment of the race was the Bob Baffert-trained The Factor, who never flashed his expected early speed an finished a lack lustre sixth. His jockey Rafael Bejarano said the horse had every chance but ran like a tired horse.
Krypton Factor stopped the clock in 1:10:79, in the fastest renewal of the Dubai Golden Shaheen since its relocation to Meydan.
Post Race Quotes for the Group 1 US$2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News
Kieren Fallon (Krypton Factor, 1st) – “He has continued to improve. I knew he was in great form coming into the race. He was always going well for me tonight and I thought I had them covered a good way out. He’s the kind of horse that thrives on racing and I’d love to ride him at Royal Ascot.”
Fawzi Nass (trainer of the winner) - “He had never faced such competition before but we still felt confident going into the race. I guess we didn’t know quite how good he is. We knew there was a lot of pace so it always going to be best to sit off of it and then Kieren angled him to the outside and that was that. We may to Singapore next and we’ll be thinking of Royal Ascot as well depending how things go.”
Felix Coetzee (Rocket Man, 2nd) – “He’s such a professional. Going to the start he was composed. He knows exactly what’s going on. I really wanted to get a good start. He flew out so fast and he landed in front of them and he was going well in front. The American horse (Giant Ryan) pressed him, which wasn’t ideal but he never stopped.”
Brett Prebble (Lucky Nine, 3rd) – “A super run but it was very hard to make up ground on that track. It seemed to be spongy underneath but he ran absolutely as well as he could.”
Silvestre De Sousa (Hitchens, 4th) – “He ran a big race. They went really quick which suits him. I’m pleased with the way he ran.”
Willie Martinez (Giant Ryan, 5th) – “I was happy with where I was and at one point I was getting excited. He ran his race after a layoff. I was very proud of him. It takes a lot to put up that kind of effort.”
Rafael Berjano (The Factor, 6th) – “My horse had all the opportunity to get on the lead or pretty close. He was too relaxed. My horse never showed me anything. He was really tired the whole race.”
Adrian Nicholls (Inxile, 7th) – “He had a bad stall and ran keenly during the race. It went a good gallop and he saw the race out well. At Group 1 level, he’s probably better over 1,000m. I’m very pleased and the horse owes us nothing, it’s just a shame we were caught on the line for a share of the prize money.”
Wayne Smith (Russian Rock, 8th) – “He was outpaced all the way, and stayed on all the way down the straight. He is just outclassed in this company.”
John Murtagh (Happy Dubai, 9th) – “He travelled well but when they kicked in the straight, I was left behind.”
Kerrin McEvoy (Sepoy, 10th) – “He came well into a nice spot. Then he backed off. It’s fair to say he didn’t enjoy the [all-weather] surface.”
Michael O’Connell (Iver Bridge Lad, 11th) – “They were going so hard up front, I couldn’t really get into it. I was never going to win.”
Frankie Dettori (Soul, 12th) – “It’s a first time on [the all-weather]. I think he’s better on grass. I got what I expected – plenty of dirt.”