where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2023-02-24 18:08:45  
Moonlight Stars in Dubai

With The Moonlight became the eighth filly to complete the G2 Cape Verdi-Balanchine double with a stylish win in Friday’s Carnival feature at Meydan Racecourse.

Trained by Charlie Appleby, the Frankel filly and William Buick sat just off the heels of leader Lyrical Poetry and was asked for an effort at the 500metre marker. It took her a few strides to overhaul the Irish challenger but in the end it was an easy four and a half-length victory – her trainer’s fifth in a row in this 1800metre turf contest.

“She came on for the Cape Verdi in every way and the nine furlongs [1800metres] suits her better than the mile,” said Buick of With The Moonlight, who is likely to be campaigned in America again this summer. “She’s really getting the hang of it now. She has a good bit of class and does everything the right way.”

Buick also rode the winner of the opening Al Karama Stakes, for three-year-olds over 1400metres on dirt. Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill was there to see his Ah Jeez prove a cut above the local colts.

Drawn in eight, the son of Mendelssohn was perhaps wider than ideal turning for home but had plenty left in the tank to hold off Sharp Army, who rallied but could never get on terms.

“It was very straightforward,” said Buick. “That’s his first start on dirt ever and I got a nice position just behind the leaders and out of the kickback. You just hoped that he would pick up on the surface as well as he did on turf.”

O’Neill added: “he ran just the way we hoped. He’d been training well but you never really know until they run a race. Being a son of Mendelssohn we thought he would be OK on the dirt and it couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Despite teaming up with the favourite One Nation, Appleby and Buick had to settle for second in the Jumeirah Derby, (Presented by Al Tayer Motors) which instead went to Sharar.

A half-brother to American turf star Lady Eli, Sharar beat older horses in handicap company to break his maiden last time out and had the same 1800metres of turf to cover here. Ridden by Adrie de Vries for trainer Fawzi Nass, he timed his run to perfection, getting up by a neck over One Nation, with Highbank third.

“It got a little bit tight and I had to wait for the gap for a long time,” said De Vries. “It didn’t really go to plan, but he would have been unlucky to lose as he travelled really well.

“He’s only half the size of some of these other horses, but he has a lot of quality. I’d be happy to put him away now as he needs to fill out and then he’ll be a proper horse next season.”

A European Classic contender was unveiled in the new Jumeirah Fillies’ Guineas, when Mawj led them a merry dance from the front, putting to bed any stamina doubts with her first victory over a mile.

Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor and ridden by Danny Tudhope, she took them along at a tepid pace but exploded in the straight for an unextended eight and a half-length victory over Fairy Cross.

The G1 Qipco 1000 Guineas at Newmarket is likely to be on the agenda for Mawj, who won a Group 2 in the UK last season.

“Obviously the trip was unknown,” said Tudhope. “I didn’t really want to make it, but there was no-one going on and she has plenty of speed. She pricked her ears and came back to me and felt very good. We know she stays a mile now.”

“As we know, she has plenty of speed,” added Bin Suroor. “She’s a nice filly and she has improved a lot. The boss [Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum] will decide where she goes next. She could go to the UAE Derby but it’s nine furlongs (1900metres) so more likely we will take her back to Newmarket or maybe the French Guineas.”


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