Godolphin’s American-based raider Mystic Guide (USA) proved himself a champion at Meydan on Saturday night when capturing the 2021 US$12m Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline.
The 4-year-old had risen through the ranks across the Atlantic and was veteran trainer Mike Stidham’s first ever overseas runner when lining up in the 2000m showpiece.
Jockey Luis Saez tracked front runner Hypothetical before taking the lead 400m from home and forging clear aboard Mystic Guide, a Godolphin homebred son of Ghostzapper who had arrived on the back of an impressive warm-up win in the Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn Park.
Japanese raider Chuwa Wizard stayed on to take second, three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner, with Godolphin’s French-based representative Magny Cours running on into third, another length and a quarter further back. The winning time was 2:01:61.
There was an eventful preliminary to the race with Great Scot being withdrawn after dropping jockey Frankie Dettori and Military Law also taken out of the field after breaking out of the stalls.
Saez said: “Our plan worked out. To break well, get a position and then I knew he would give me that kick at the top of the straight – and he did. I didn’t want to be too far back and I just asked him turning for home and he kicked. The plan worked out perfectly. He’s a young horse and last time I rode him I knew he was a Group 1 winner.
“Today he proved he is a champion and I know he is going to get better and better. What a nice horse, he has all the ability. It’s an honour for me. This was my dream as a little kid and I can’t believe I’m here now. It’s a dream come true.
“He was a little nervous before the race and in the post-parade, but he does that sometimes and I wasn’t too worried. He is just a very talented horse and it is amazing to win this race. I can’t believe it.”
For Stidham, who saddled his first winner in 1980, it was the pinnacle of his training career.
“I want to start by giving my condolences on the passing of Sheikh Hamdan,” said Stidham. “This was a special night. You’re seeing 40 years of emotions right now.
“I am so happy to be here and the horse performed to his capability. It’s a beautiful thing. He was getting antsy in the parade ring and then with a loose horse it made it more difficult, then we had to load a couple times. It was a little scary at the start but he stayed relaxed.
“All that added to the concerns. He gets a little tough and doesn’t like being restrained a lot. I saddled him outside the stall because he was getting a little antsy in the stall. With all of that that went on, I was really concerned, like I said, but he overcame it.
“I got a good feeling when I saw him lying in third on the backside then down the lane it was amazing. I’m so proud to be here on the 25th anniversary of the Dubai World Cup for Sheikh Mohammed and the sky’s the limit for this horse. We’d love to come back next year, I’ll know the lay of the land better then!”
It was a 9th Dubai World Cup win for Godolphin and a 12th trained in the USA.
REST OF QUOTES
Keita Tosaki, jockey, CHUWA WIZARD (2nd) – “While he was waiting for the race he was relaxed, he jumped out very well and could run his race. I knew the winner was travelling nicely on the final turns but my horse was also moving well and when the pace picked up he showed his turn of foot. When he breezed over the week, he felt really nice. He ran his race but I want to come back to make revenge.”
Andre Fabre, trainer, MAGNY COURS (3rd) – “I was delighted. He was given the perfect ride by William. He travelled well, didn’t mind too much kick back and well, I couldn’t be happier with him.”
William Buick, jockey – “He ran fantastic. Mr Fabre was quite confident of a big run, he handled the kickback very well. He travelled beautifully. Look, the winner was strong but Magny Cours finished the race really strong and ran a huge race in third.”
Mickael Barzalona, jockey, HYPOTHETICAL (4th) – “My horse ran really well. He has performed well, he had no form coming to Dubai but they worked him well here and finishing fourth is a really good thing. I’m very happy for the entire team.”
Salem bin Ghadayer, trainer: “The horse arrived in October with a 92 rating and he finished placed fourth in the World Cup, so it was great. He’s improving, so in general, I’m very happy from the beginning until now.”
Adrie de Vries, jockey, SALUTE THE SOLDIER (5th) – “We went a good pace early on. On the backside we slowed down a little bit. The front-runners got tired. I was tracking the winner the whole time. In the turn I started to get in trouble, he did well to hold on for fifth. I’ve got no complaints, I was travelling well but then he wasn’t feeling as powerful as last time and just stayed on one paced.”
Joel Rosario, jockey, JESUS’ TEAM (6th) – “I thought it was good. The speed was fine, I got in a good spot. On the backside I was trying to keep my spot a little bit and he just started grinding. He didn’t have that kick. He was fine but I thought he would have had a little more in the end. He tried hard. We’ll go again next time.”