where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2018-01-25 22:10:04  

Thursday’s third meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival was highlighted by the Group 2 Cape Verdi sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminum, and won comfortably by Promising Run, a third winner of an eventual four on the card for Godolphin. Restricted to fillies and mares over 1600m on turf, it attracted a field of eight, but very few were able to get competitive with Pat Cosgrave settling Promising Run in behind early leader Rehana.


Very reluctant to load, the 5-year-old daughter of Hard Spun was then fastest away, but Cosgrave was happy to accept a lead from Pat Smullen on Rehana. At the top of the long straight, the pair started to pull clear of the rest and looked set to fight out a duel, but Promising Run quickened and Rehana had no answer.


A carnival winner on her first start last year, the 1800m Group 2 Al Rashidiya, Promising Run clearly enjoys the Dubai sunshine and fast turf conditions at Meydan. It was a sixth victory in the race for Godolphin and fifth for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who had won the previous two renewals with Very Special.


“As I said in the week, this mare shows us very little at home in the mornings but produces on the track,” bin Suroor said. “We were hopeful, but you can never be confident given the way she trains. The Balanchine, over 1800m in three weeks, is the likely next target. As well as Dubai, she has also won Group races in England and Turkey so is clearly a smart performer.”


Cosgrave added: “I rode her at Goodwood last year when she did not like the soft ground and she was much happier here on the quicker conditions. She shows very little at home but has produced another big performance on the track and is decent.”


The meeting began with the EGA Potlines Trophy, a 2000m dirt handicap and a perfect start for Godolphin and bin Suroor with a smooth victory for Don’t Give Up under Gerald Mosse, who was content to track Active Spirit before sweeping past that rival at the top of the straight and running on strongly. Unraced before June, the 4-year-old son of Dubawi won two of his five UK outings and has now won on the all-weather, turf and dirt.


“It is the first time I have ridden him in a race but I have sat on him twice in the mornings,” Mosse said. “So I knew he had some ability but we do not work them hard at home so he came here something of an unknown quantity. He is only a young horse and was having a good look around as he was not really sure what was going on in these new surroundings. He gave me a lovely feel throughout and quickened up well when I wanted him to. It was a good performance.”


The trial for the UAE 2000 Guineas, a 1400m dirt conditions race for three-year-old colts and geldings, was oversubscribed and split into two divisions. The UAE 2000 Guineas Trial sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium (Div 1) was a one horse race from just after halfway with Godolphin’s Gold Town, sent straight to the front by William Buick. Always bowling along happily, the 3-year-old gelded son of Street Cry skipped clear off the bend and the race was over in a matter of strides.


“It was a great performance and I was delighted with him,” Buick said. “Once I was able to get in front and across to that rail, then give him a bit of a breather, I was always more than happy. He is by Street Cry so you expect him to go well on this dirt surface and he has been training well on a similar surface. He felt like there was improvement to come and a natural on the dirt.”


Seventy minutes later, the second division appeared to be heading to Godolphin again, this time with bin Suroor-trained Racing Country in front for the majority of the race under Christophe Soumillon. However, Luke Morris was making ground on El Chapo, having his first start for Fawzi Nass and they threw down a challenge in the straight, passing Soumillon’s mount, despite a re-rally attempt by Racing Country. El Chapo completed a double for his trainer, who also owns a share in both his winners.


“He was tough and brave,” Morris said. “When I needed him to help me close home, he really dug deep. I was very pleased going to the start as he seemed to love the surface which filled me with a lot of confidence as his pedigree suggested dirt would suit him. I think my horse has needed that run and will improve as he was getting tired, but his attitude has seen him home. It was a long way back to the third, so hopefully it was a good performance.”


Earlier, Adrie de Vries produced a perfect ride from the front to land the EGA Al Taweelah Trophy, a 2810m turf handicap, aboard Los Barbados for Nass who also part owns the horse with EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club). Arguably unlucky not to finish closer when fourth, over 2410m on the opening night of the Carnival two weeks ago, when hampered at the top of the straight, that scenario was never going to be replayed here with the horse sent straight to the lead.


With none of the other seven runners interested in contesting the pace, Dutchman De Vries was able to set steady fractions before gradually quickening the tempo on the back straight. At the top of the home straight, they committed for home and Los Barbados stayed on resolutely to land the spoils.


De Vries explained: “Looking at the race tactically beforehand, we did not think there would be much pace so decided, if that was the case, to go to the front. There were only eight runners today whereas, last time, we never had much space in a big field. We took the blinkers off and everything went smoothly. Hopefully he can build on this and it would be nice to think he can win again but he is not a horse you would run every week; he needs a break between outings.”


Not a carnival race, the 1600m dirt handicap, the EGA Billets Trophy, was won comfortably by Claim the Roses, never far away under Mickael Barzalona. Making it third time lucky in the UAE, he was sent to the front 500m out before running on strongly and never looking likely to be caught.


Second at Jebel Ali on his first local start, he was then third over this course and distance three weeks ago so, getting his head in front delighted his trainer, Salem bin Ghadayer, who said: “He has run well on both his previous starts and we were pretty confident he would at least go close tonight.”


Bahraini Nass almost completed an unforgettable treble and Mosse a double with Jordan Sport narrowly denied in the EGA Jebel Ali Trophy, a 1000m turf handicap but was actually denied by compatriot Jaber Ramadhan, who saddled winner Dutch Masterpiece.


Always in front of the group racing on the nearside, Dutch Masterpiece took an overall advantage at about halfway and powered on strongly, providing Pat Smullen some compensation after his defeat on Rehana. With all the rivals around him beaten with 200m left, Smullen's mount was left to contend with Mosse and Jordan Sport, who had taken control of those racing on the far side about the same moment the eventual winner led outright, drifted towards the centre. They ran on strongly, as did Yard Line in third and Out Do in fourth but the line came in time for Dutch Masterpiece, a first UAE winner for his trainer.


Smullen said: “I actually rode this horse at Ascot, in the Shergar Cup, when we were just beaten and then again at York,” Smullen said. “That was in 2015, mind you, and he had a tendency to hang, but he has gone gun barrel straight for me today. The trainer was pretty confident and just said to be positive. It has been a good evening, because Rehana ran really well and was probably just outstayed, but she will win a nice race, perhaps back at 1400m.”


The finale, the EGA Casthouse Trophy, a 2000m turf handicap, was the fourth and final Godolphin victory on the evening when bin Suroor-trained Mountain Hunter made all on a masterful ride by Christophe Soumillon. It was three lengths back to Appleby-trained banner-mate Banksea under Buick. The son of Lonhro finished up in 2:02.93, capping a grand day for Godolphin 

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