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Meydan’s fourth meeting of the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival was dominated by the Godolphin racing operation which not only landed two Group 2 Thoroughbred races, but five of the seven races on the card.
The 1800m Group 2 Al Rashidiya Empowered By IPIC, on the turf went to Godolphin courtesy of Promising Run, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and the only filly among the seven runners.
Ridden by Jim Crowley, Promising Run, who was second in last year’s UAE 1000 Guineas despite not seeming to take to the dirt, was a Group 3 winner in Turkey in September but certainly produced a career best effort here.
Christophe Soumillon tried to make all aboard the Mike de Kock-trained Light The Lights, a tactic which had most of the opposition in trouble entering the straight, but Crowley and Promising Run were edging closer and unleashed a decisive challenge in the final 200m, leading close home.
“We were not the best away but the pace was not quick so we were soon in contention,” said Crowley. “I rode this filly on her last start at Ascot when the slower ground did not suit her but this quicker surface was ideal."
“She will stay further and I think she is still improving which gives connections plenty of options.”
When entries were revealed on Monday, Promising Run was also given the option of contesting the 1600m, on turf, Group 2 Cape Verdi Empowered By CEPSA, an IPIC Group Company.
But Bin Suroor was content to allow last year’s winner, Very Special, to defend her crown and she duly justified that decision by becoming the first dual winner of the race. In doing so she collared a 200th win for her trainer, the most successful handler in the history of the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Also ridden by Crowley, Very Special was settled just behind the speed set by Christophe Soumillon and Tahanee and stayed on strongly to lead close home.
“Saeed wanted me to settle her off the lead today so I was delighted when Christophe wanted to go to the front,” said Crowley. “I was always happy and she quickened nicely when I asked her. She is a very good mare.”
It was Godolphin again in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Empowered By NOVA, an IPIC Group Company, a 1400m conditions race, on dirt, won by the Charlie Appleby-trained Fly At Dawn.
Pat Dobbs tried to make all aboard Cosmo Charlie for Doug Watson and, when they kicked clear early in the straight, it looked likely to be a winning tactic.
Sadly for them though, Mickael Barzalona and Fly At Dawn had the move covered and were able to hit the front in the final 100m to, ultimately, win comfortably.
“He ran well, under a penalty, first time here and has improved a lot since,” said Barzalona. “The plan was actually to make the running but we did not break that well so I was happy to take my time."
“The extra 200m of the UAE 2000 Guineas will certainly suit him and he will probably stay even further so the UAE Derby could be an option.”
Appleby’s Baccarat provided the final honours for Godolphin when leading stablemate, Jungle Cat home in the Borealis, an IPIC Group Company, a 1200m turf handicap.
The Aabar Properties, an IPIC Group Company, was a 2410m turf handicap and dominated by the Godolphin trained winner and runner-up.
Charlie Appleby and Adam Kirby combined to land the spoils with Gold Trail who won fairly comfortably from the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Prize Money.
“I was always happy throughout the race,” said Kirby. “He really travelled very well and is, basically, a lovely horse and a pleasure to ride as a jockey."
“It is great to ride a winner here for the Godolphin team and this is a nice horse who could probably step up in trip if they decided to.”
The only Purebred Arabian contest was the opener, the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 Empowered By IPIC, over 2200m and won in style by Faucon Du Loup, trained by Elise Jeanne.
Sent to the front by Richard Mullen, he was soon headed by RB So Rich but was always travelling strongly just in behind.
The pair regained the initiative fully 900m out, from RB Dixie Burning who led briefly, and they powered home to register a comprehensive victory and break the track record in the process.
“It is a great result for a small yard,” said Mullen. “Elise does not have that many horses but is a very good trainer and this fellow has won this in style."
“I rode him at Al Ain on his local debut last month and learned a lot about the horse."
“He will easily cope with the drop to 2000m for the third round of the challenge and, hopefully, the Kahayla Classic.”
The Godolphin monopoly on Thoroughbred races was broken by trainer Salem bin Ghadayer who saddled both first and second in a 1600m dirt handicap, ADCOP, an IPIC Investment.
Royston Ffrench looked as though he had stolen the race with a positive ride from the front on Frankyfourfingers but they were mown down in the final 200m by stable companion Heavy Metal, a second winner on the card for Barzalona.
“Obviously it is a great result for the whole team,” said Barzalona. “I was always fairly happy but Frankyfourfingers is a very good horse so I was only really confident when we drew alongside him."
“This horse deserved a win after some very good efforts in defeat this season and, hopefully, can build on this.”