The Saudi Arabian based Neil Bruss held up the Southern African flag in Dubai on Saturday night in the richest race in the world.

The likeable former South African and Zimbabwean based handler trained his World Cup pair to a third and fourth place finish to net a total of US$ 900 000 for his Saudi patron.

Bruss, brother to South Africa's leading bloodstock agent Robin, took a former Port Elizabeth gallop in the form of Paris Perfect and raced him on the world stage to a gallant yet well beaten 3rd. The talented South African bred Muhtafal gelding was the outsider of the event but proved to be more than useful on the tough 2000m dirt surface of Nad Al Sheba. Paris Perfect's stablemate, Muller, was 4th. 

Not one other runner could claim to have come close to the 14 length winner, Well Armed, so it was creditable for Bruss to have his chargers in the placings while the others failed to fire. His runners beat the likes of the recent Gr.1 Donn Handicap winner, Albertus Maximus and Mike De Kock's highly rated charge Asiatic Boy. The later was ridden from 600m out and finished well back in a poor overall effort when much more was expected of him.

The rest of the South African contingent was hugely disappointing on the day with the nearest other South African linked charges no better than 5th in any of the other races on the night. Team South Africa was expected to show more in 2009 after winning and dominating World Cup night '08 by winning the Sheema Classic (Sun Classique) and Duty Free (Jay Peg).

All of South Africa's big hopes in the form of Jay Peg (11th: Duty Free), Archipenko (6th: Duty Free), King of Rome (13th: Sheema Classic), Front House (9th: Sheema Classic), Bankable (5th: Duty Free), King's Gambit (15th: Sheema Classic), Lucky Find (15th: Mile), Art of War (10th: Mile), Brave Tin Soldier (5th: Mile), Russian Sage (11th: Sheema Classic) and MacArthur (14th: Sheema Classic) were very disappointing on the night.

It was obvious to see the world latching onto the golden racing egg that is Dubai and it is now far harder to win races on the big night than in the past.

© 2009 All rights reserved.