where the horse is always the hero
Article Item
Posted 2009-03-28 20:14:28  

One of the most dominant performances in Dubai World Cup history was seen at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night as the American raider, Well Armed (image: DRC/Watkins) tore his field apart in the main event of the evening.

Cigar’s victory in the inaugural race in 1996 took most people’s breath away and there was a similar reaction to Well Armed’s win - in what is the last race ever to be run at Nad Al Sheba, as racing moves to the state-of-the-art Meydan next UAE season.

The six-year-old bounced out of the gates a length in front and was never headed in the US$6million showpiece, kindly sponsored by Emirates.

The win for trainer Eoin Harty, jockey Aaron Gryder and owner-breeders WinStar Farm looked in the bag rounding the home turn, as his rivals failed to make any inroads on a huge lead.

Gloria De Campeao gave chase to finish second, while the Saudi Arabian outsiders Paris Perfect and Muller ran on well for third and fourth. But this was all about one horse.

“Here we go boys!” screamed jockey Gryder as he weighed in. “Last race at Nad Al Sheba, and we won it!”

The victory was nearly double Curlin’s seven and three-quarter length win last year, the previous record winning distance.

Trainer Harty has a strong connection with the UAE, having been hired by Godolphin to train their two-year-olds in the US in 2000 and spent two years readying the juveniles in Dubai.

Harty developed Street Cry, who went on to win the 2003 Dubai World Cup, but was thrilled to repeat the feat in his own name this time.

He said: “It’s the biggest win of the career. I owe a lot to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who got me started and plucked me from a relative obscurity.

“This horse chipped a bone in the UAE Derby and then he fractured his pelvis and the vets wanted to put him down. Two years on he’s won the richest race in the world.”

The fancied Albertus Maximus and Asiatic Boy were the disappointments of the race, finishing sixth and 12th respectively.

The former’s rider Alan Garcia said: “He was fighting me. I can’t really explain it right now. Last time I rode him in the Donn he was a totally different horse.”

While Asiatic Boy’s rider Johnny Murtagh commented: He is a horse who needs to get organized early on and we got shuffled back. After that we were flat to the boards and always struggling.”


1 Well Armed (USA) - Soon led, drew clear 600m out, ran on well, easily
2 Glória De Campeão (BRZ) - Mid-division on rail, chased winner 600m out, ran on, no chance with winner
3 Paris Perfect (SAF) - Rear of mid-division, never able to challenge, ran on well final 400m
4 Muller (ARG) - Raced in rear, never dangerous, ran on well final 500m, nearest finish
5 My Indy (ARG) - Tracked leader, every chance 600m out, ran on, weakened final 200m
6 Albertus Maximus (USA) - Mid-division, wide, keen, ridden 500m out, weakened final 300m
7 Snaafy (USA) - Slowly into stride, mid-division, not quicken final 500m
8 Casino Drive (USA) - Never better than mid-division
9 Happy Boy (BRZ) - Mid-division, ridden 700m out, soon beaten
10 Muhannak (IRE) - Slowly away, soon ridden in last, never near to challenge
11 Arson Squad (USA) - Never near to challenge
12 Asiatic Boy (ARG) - Slowly into stride, rear of mid-division, hampered after 300m, ridden 800m out, soon beaten
13 Joe Louis (ARG) - Never better than mid-division
14 Anak Nakal (USA) - Never able to challenge

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