Dubai Horse Racing News
Godolphin Continue Classic Meydan Weekend With Saturday Feature Victory
Close finishes were the order of the day at Meydan on Saturday evening, including the hard fought success of Classic Collection, the only Godolphin-owned runner on the card, in the DP World, UAE Region, over 1800m on turf.
The race looked ultra-competitive on paper and so it proved with at least half-a-dozen of the 16 runners holding wining claims entering the latter stages.
However, the conclusion was fought out by just two with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Classic Collection, ridden by Harry Bentley, leading when it mattered to deny Baroot. Baroot, trained by Mike de Kock, hit the front about 200m from home but could not maintain that advantage, being headed in the final strides.
“This horse stays further so the fast early gallop helped him,” said Bentley. “He is basically very tough and genuine, as he showed here. He has not had that much racing and can progress and I assume connections will be looking for a race at the Dubai World Cup Carnival now.”
In winning that race, Classic Collection added to five Godolphin winners collected on the Meydan’s Dubai World CUp carnival card on Thursday.
The meeting opened with the Mina Rashid, a 1200m dirt maiden and was won in taking fashion by the Doug Watson-trained Mabrouka, opening her account at the fifth attempt and third in the UAE.
In a race in which very few were ever able to get competitive, Sam Hitchcott was happy to stalk the early speed before committing the filly for home in the final 300m.
Once in front, they never looked in trouble and won comfortably enough in the end.
“She is a nice filly and very straightforward for a jockey,” said Hitchcott. “This was a great opportunity for her to get a win on the board and she is very versatile with form on turf as well. She also stays 1400m well so there should be plenty of options for her.
The following Mina Rashid Marina, a 1600m dirt handicap, produced a thrilling finish with Milton, having his fifth local outing, leading right on the line to deny Secret Ambition.
Entering the straight, Adrie de Vries and the Ismail Mohammed-trained Milton looked the most likely winner and, smoothly, went to the front 300m out.
However, that initial lead was short lived and they were soon passed by Secret Ambition, before fighting back to regain the initiative where it mattered.
“I thought we would win quite easily turning for home,” said De Vries. “But, once in front he has almost stopped and had to fight back, which he did bravely, to just get back in front.
“This 1600m would be as far as he wants and 1400m would suit him as well.”
Another exciting conclusion was served up in the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, a 1200m dirt handicap, which Tadhg O’Shea looked to have stolen on the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Mutahaddith.
However, entering the final 200m the horse was visibly tiring and had no answer to the late, desperate, challenge of Alareef who headed him right on the line.
Trained by South African Mike de Kock, for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the winner was partnered by the owner’s new first jockey, Jim Crowley.
“It is the first time I have ridden the horse but, having watched the videos, I knew he would be staying on well,” said Crowley.
“A fast run 1200m is probably his optimum and he really dug deep when I needed him to.”
Ahmad bin Harmash saddled both first and second in the JAFZA, a 1600m turf maiden in which Pictograph, on his 11th career start and seventh locally, narrowly prevailed from stable companion Cachao.
Winning jockey, Pat Cosgrave, who also rode Pupil to victory in the concluding Mina Hamriya 1400 turf handicap, tried to make all, only to be headed 300m from home by Cachao, before fighting back to lead again in the final 200m.
“He has shown a great attitude and probably deserved a win after some good efforts in defeat,” said Cosgrave.
There was perhaps something of a surprise in the Jebel Ali Port Handicap, over 2200 on dirt, which was won, in some style by Baratti, trained by Erwan Charpy and ridden by Antonio Fresu.
“This is the first time I have ridden the horse,” said Fresu. “He did it well and won in good style.”