where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2023-02-17 19:47:06  
Nations Pride is Back

Grade 1 winner Nations Pride (pictured) was the headline act on day seven of the Dubai World Cup Carnival and he didn’t let his supporters down, posting a smooth success in the G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes (presented by DP World.)

The winner of the inaugural Jumeirah Derby at Meydan Racecourse last season, he was dropping in distance here to 2000metres but the result never really looked in doubt. Ridden by William Buick for Charlie Appleby, the four-year-old was positioned just off the leaders and was able to pounce on stablemate Ottoman Fleet and then hold off the fast-finishing Zagrey, winning by a length and a quarter.

Appleby, winning this race for the sixth time in a row, now has big plans for the Teofilo colt, with the Group 1 Jebel Hatta and Dubai Turf under consideration.

‘Immediately, you’d say have a crack at the Dubai Turf, as they’ll go a good gallop over the 1800metres there,” he said. “But we’ll see how the cards fall.”

Appleby’s celebrated a treble which started in race four, the Lord Glitters Handicap, over 1600metres on turf. His New Kingdom had placed on all three previous starts at Meydan but gained his first local win here.

Buick did it the hard way from the front and had to endure a tense final 100metres when the unlucky in running Aegean Finale, carrying the hopes of Turkey, flew home for second, missing by a neck.

“He likes to be ridden that way and that’s what Charlie was keen to do,” said the rider. “You could drop him back to seven furlongs, no problem, as he needed the line tonight. He showed great attitude and hopefully he can build on that.”

Appleby and Buick also continued the Godolphin stranglehold on the G3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy (presented by DP World), a prep race for the G2 Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup day.

Siskany won over course and distance in the Listed Al Khail Trophy a year ago and was impressive again here, being unleashed for a run at the 400metre marker and easily passing stablemate and pacesetter Kemari. That rival finished fourth, behind Ardakan and Al Nayyir.

“He hadn’t raced for a while so he was a bit fresh and over racing at stages,” said Buick after Godolphin’s tenth success in the 2810metre turf event. “It was impressive in the end and, like any good stayer, he has that turn of foot. He’s been rock solid from day one and hopefully he can make into a Dubai Gold Cup horse.”

Kentucky trip possible for Oaks winner

Salem Bin Ghadayer is enjoying an excellent season and he celebrated his second G3 UAE Oaks (Presented by DP World) win when Mimi Kakushi took her winning spree to three in a row.

Facing fresh opposition in the form of the Doug O’Neill-trained Ami Please, the daughter of City Of Light sat just on the heels of that rival and was well-placed to challenge her at the top of the straight. A brief battle ensued, but Mickael Barzalona had a bit to spare on Mimi Kakushi, who won by a length and a quarter.

“She’s a very classy filly and she does everything we ask her to,” said Barzalona. “The longer trip was in her favour. [Ami Please] was much faster away than us and my filly was happy to sit behind. At the end I felt like I had plenty in hand.”

Bin Ghadayer added: “She was my favourite filly and she improved again tonight,” he said. “To be honest, I thought this race would be even easier than the Guineas as she wouldn’t be under pressure the whole way.

“She was a professional filly from the beginning, especially in her mind, and she’s very easy to train. She knows she must give everything in a race.”

“The UAE Derby and the Kentucky Oaks for sure will be on her agenda but we need to discuss it with [owner] Sheikh Hamdan [bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.]”

Saeed Bin Suroor suffered a rare blank on last week’s Carnival card but the nine-time Dubai World Cup winner doesn’t often miss at his home track and he saddled the first two home in the Jebel Ali Free Zone Handicap, over 1200metres on turf.

City Walk had failed to win in three previous tries at Meydan but, aided by a good draw in 10 and a positive ride by Danny Tudhope, he was able to change that. The six-year-old led early on and found more when headed by stablemate Open Mind, grinding out a neck success.

“They’ve been coming over this side [towards the stands] the whole time so I edged over,” said Tudhope of his tactics. “He broke well and relaxed in front tonight. When I saw Open Mind come upsides I thought he might outstay me but my fellow stuck his neck out.”

There was a pleasing finale to the evening when the popular Golden Goal bounced back to winning ways in the Jebel Ali Port Handicap, over 1400metres on dirt.

The Doug Watson-trained grey hadn’t won since the 2022 G2 Maktoum Challenge R1 but was dropping in class here. Ridden by Pat Dobbs, he was able to sit off a fast early pace and came with a sustained run to deny Royal Mews, who had set sail for home under James Doyle. That rival finished second, ahead of French raider King Gold.

“He jumped well today and they went quick, so I let him find his own rhythm,” said Dobbs. “He travelled so much better than when I last rode him, so I knew going around the turn that I had a chance and at the furlong pole I thought I might get there. This horse stays a mile so this was actually a little bit sharp for him.”

Earlier on, Iraqi trainer Qaiss Aboud enjoyed the biggest success of his training career when AF Almomayaz won the opening G2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah for Purebred Arabians.

Ridden by Adrie de Vries, the eight-year-old took advantage of the rail and was tenacious in holding off the closing Heros De Lagarde by a neck.

“He’s a brave little horse. He’s not over big but he has a big heart,” said De Vries, riding his third winner of the Carnival. “I liked his race here the last time when he was second after being wide all the way.

“He’s definitely straightforward and didn’t hesitate in going through that gap, which isn’t something every Arabian will do for you.”

The Carnival continues next Friday, February 24th, when the G2 Balanchine is the feature race.


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