DUBAI: Thursday’s sixth meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse was highlighted by the Group 3 US$250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas sponsored by Al Tayer Motors. Over 1600m on dirt, the classic turned into a procession by Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby-trained Gold Town, who completed a treble on the card for the owners.
Fifteen may have gone to post for the 3-year-old Classic, but there was only one apparent winner from about halfway, as jockey William Buick always looked supremely confident. Winner of a 1400m trial three weeks ago on his local and dirt debut, when sauntering home at his leisure, he arguably won even more easily on this occasion as he crossed the line 10½ lengths superior. Gold Town’s sire Street Cry won this race in 2001 a year prior to winning the Dubai World Cup (G1).
“Just like the (UAE 2000 Guineas) Trial over 1400m, he was again very impressive and gave me a great feel all the way round,” Buick said. “Once I could see on the big screen that we were clear, I was even able to give him a pat before the line. On his trial form, he looked head and shoulders above the rest coming into this race, so once he broke well enough, everything went smoothly. The UAE Derby is an extra 300m, but I do not see that being an issue and I assume that will be the plan.”
Only five went to post in the Jaguar F – Type, a 2435m turf handicap that was won impressively by Godolphin’s Best Solution, confidently and patiently ridden by Pat Cosgrave for Saeed bin Suroor. Third on the opening night of the Carnival behind Golden Wood, who chased him home on this occasion. Best Solution was settled behind stable companion Memorial Day, who was keen under Gerald Mosse, before being asked to challenge early in the straight and proving much the best.
“We knew he had improved from that first run and were pretty confident coming here tonight,” Cosgrave said. “He has travelled really strongly all the way around and quickened in style when I asked him to settle matters in a few strides. I won a Group 3 at Newbury on him in October and I imagine he will have to go back up in grade now after this win.”
Soumillon then joined forces with bin Suroor and Godolphin, making all aboard Don’t Give Up in the following Land Rover Discovery, a 2000m dirt handicap. It was a virtual carbon copy of the horse’s victory of three weeks ago, on his dirt debut, when ridden by Mosse.
“I was not sure if I would be able to get to the front from a wider draw, especially with a few horses who have early speed inside me and he was then quite slowly away, but after a few strides, I saw I could make the running,” Soumillon said. “He was still quite green out there and having a good look around, so he is only going to improve. He really showed a good turn-of-foot in the straight. He is a nice, progressive horse.”
Class prevailed in the opening Al Ruwayah Sponsored By Jaguar XF (G2), the only Purebred Arabian race on the card. Over 1600m on the dirt and won by Paddy’s Day, a multiple G1 winner, including over this course and distance in Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on the opening night of the Carnival.
Settled off the modest pace by Pat Dobbs, riding for main employer Doug Watson and penalised for that victory five weeks ago, he loomed up behind the leaders on the home turn but then had to dig deep in the straight to overpower his foes.
“They did not go very quick today and he was not travelling as well as he has done in the past two races here at Meydan,” Dobbs said. “I should have won the last day when I was left in front earlier than I planned and we were caught close home. I was kicking myself afterwards. Obviously, the draw plays a big part in tactics but he is probably happier racing prominently but has shown here can be ridden more patiently. He has not won by far, but he is a horse who has had plenty of races and knows what the game is all about. He was hardly blowing after this race, so I think he had plenty more to offer if needed.”
Trainer Salem bin Ghadayer would appear to have a plethora of options with High On Life after his hard fought success in the Range Rover Velar, a 1200m turf handicap, over a game Dutch Masterpiece. Mickael Barzalona was in the saddle.
“My horse was always going comfortably and we have to be very pleased with that,” Barzalona said. “He has been working very well recently and surprised us at home, as he has seemed to improve a lot over the last few weeks. He is clearly versatile and has shown he can go well at Jebel Ali, but is a horse who does not like to be hurried, so 1200m is better for him than 1000m.”
The longest race on the card, the 3200m Range Rover Sport Handicap, attracted a field of just seven, but produced the most exciting finish of the night with the first four separated by a length and Prince of Arran winning under James Doyle. The victory gave trainer Charlie Fellowes his first Carnival tally and provided a bit of revenge, as the winner turned the tables on Los Barbados and jockey Adrie de Vries, who defeated them on Jan. 25 over 2810m.
“We were pretty hopeful coming here after his good run first time, but there was always a worry if there would be enough pace early on in the race which this horse appreciates,” Doyle said. “They dawdled early on, but the pace did increase a fair way out, which made it a proper staying contest. I must admit, when I hit the front, I thought we would win quite easily, but it was very close in the end. It is a massive result on the world stage for a relatively small, but progressive young trainer and his team.”
The meeting concluded with the Jaguar E – Pace, a 1600m turf handicap that was won by Hors de Combat over a game Treasury Notes. Ridden confidently by Oisin Murphy, the son of Mount Nelson improved upon his third-place finish last out over the same trip on January 18th for trainer Denis Coakley and owner Chris Van Hoorn Racing.
“A fantastic training performance,” Murphy said. “To prepare one to compete on nights like this was fantastic and I’m glad we got the job done.” Sports Desk