Ciyscape unleashed blistering acceleration at the top of the stretch to turn the Group 1 US$5 million Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, into a procession at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday. (Image: DRC/Watkins)
The six-year-old was ridden aggressively by James Doyle to lower the track record previously held by Mahbooba by 0.14 seconds. He tallied by 4¼ lengths from Mutahadee, who emerged from midfield to claim the runner-up berth, with City Style back in third place.
Winning trainer Roger Charlton was almost lost for words in the aftermath. “I can’t believe it,” he said. The race panned out absolutely as we thought it would. Await The Dawn weakened pretty quickly to leave us in front plenty early enough, but that wasn’t a problem.”
Cityscape was Doyle’s first winner on Dubai World Cup night. He will never have a more comfortable passage to the winner’s circle after Cityscape stalked Await The Dawn before usurping that front-runner soon after halfway in the 1,800m contest.
Doyle waited until the bright chestnut reached the straight before turning him loose.
“This horse has an amazing turn of foot,” the jockey said. “He just kept finding; he was even idling a little in the closing stages. It was a great feeling and the biggest day in my life.”
Cityscape’s broad white blaze makes him easy to spot within a herd of horses but he was out on his own for much of the race. This was a first Group 1 victory for a horse with a series of near-misses on his record – most notably in Hong Kong in December, when he was denied in a photo finish. For that reason Charlton, who trains Cityscape on the Berkshire Downs in England, was doubly delighted.
“Everyone keeps telling me the horse needs soft ground but he goes on anything. What he really enjoys is racing on a flat, level track. If we’d stayed at home we’d have had to keep avoiding Frankel (who is also owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah). It made sense to come here.”
Mutahadee finished well under Christophe Soumillon but never had a shot at the winner, who stopped the clock in 1 min 48.60secs. And while City Style ran to expectations in finishing third, the winner was in a class apart.
The three-pronged Hong Kong challenge, headed by Ambitious Dragon, failed to figure. The best of them was Xtension, who finished fifth. Dubawi Gold was withdrawn on veterinary advice just before he was due to load into the stalls. His withdrawal reduced the field to 15.
Post Race Quotes for the Group 1 US$5 million Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free
James Doyle (Cityscape, 1st) – “Early on when I settled in and got my position, I thought it would take some catching. When we turned into the straight, I couldn’t believe the turn of foot he had. He kept finding more. It’s amazing.”
Christophe Soumillon (Mutahadee, 2nd) – “In the straight I knew I was beaten because the winner just took off and left me behind. I could see how well he (the winner) was going and I knew he wasn’t going to come back to me. He gave everything he had and I’m happy because maybe Master of Hounds will now have a better chance in the Dubai World Cup than I thought.”
Mickael Barzalona (City Style, 3rd) – “I’m really very happy. I didn’t think there would be any pace in the race, but there was which suited us. When I asked him to quicken, he gave me everything and I’m really delighted with his performance.”
Jamie Spencer (Wigmore Hall, 4th) – “I had a horrific draw and the trip was a bit on the sharp side for him and I think he found the ground a bit quick, so he’s done well to get fourth.”
Jeffrey Lloyd (Xtension , 5th) – “He ran very well. I would have liked to have been more forward but he didn’t get a great start. He got shuffled around there in the early stages. He finished well.”
Kevin Shea (Musir, 6th) – “He didn’t stay. Off a good pace, it was a bit too far for him.”
Douglas Whyte (Ambitious Dragon, 7th) – “He was very stirred up in the paddock beforehand which was not like him. He was in an OK position but he didn’t find anything. You didn’t see the real Ambitious Dragon tonight.”
Yuichi Fukunaga (Dark Shadow, 8th) – “He travelled from a good position but didn’t accelerate well and didn’t respond turning for home.”
Frankie Dettori (Delegator, 9th) – “The trip was good but I wasn’t good enough. Not tonight.
Royston Ffrench (Rajsaman, 10th) – “They went a very fast pace and he was slowly out of the gate which didn’t help me and he stayed on again in the closing stages. Missing the break in a race like this is not ideal.”
Glyn Schofield (Green Destiny, 11th) – “We had a lovely run, it was a little bit tight half way around the corner. It opened up and we had enough room to go, but not enough horse.”
Matthew Chadwick (California Memory, 12th) – “He just found the ground a bit too soft maybe. I think there might be something wrong with him.”
Silvestre De Sousa (Rio De La Plata, 13th) – “He travelled well but from three down he was running on empty.”
Joseph O’Brien (Await the Dawn, 14th) – “I jumped out in front on a nice gallop and then all the other horses passed me.”
Ryan Moore (Presvis, 15th) – “Never wanted to go tonight. He didn’t come out of the stalls and there was a gallop on straight away and he got behind. His best days are probably behind him.”