Dubai: Godolphin swept the two main feature races at Thursday night’s Gulf News-sponsored Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan, winning both the UAE 1000 Guineas (G3) and the Al Maktoum Challenge (G2).
Mahmoud Al Zarouni won the Guineas for the third successive year with the Ahmad Ajtebi-ridden Lovely Pass, who led home an incredible Godolphin sweep of the first four places in the first Classic of the 2013 season. Lovely Pass was following in the footsteps of Kinglet and Splash Point, previous winners of the 1600m contest for three-year-old fillies.
Shuruq, trained by Saeed Bin Surour and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, was half a length back in second, with Music Chart, a smart winner of the Trial two weeks ago, a length and a quarter behind for the Al Zarouni-Mickael Barzalona partnership.
Mar Mar, who made the early running for William Buick, stayed on four fourth in the 14th running of the race, which carries a purse of $250,000.
Ajtebi was delighted to win his first UAE 1000 Guineas and saluted the courage of Lovely Pass.
“I’ve always liked this horse, as she has such a big heart,” he said. “I won a conditions race with her at Ascot, England, last September and I knew she was something special.
“When I got the chance to ride her today, I was very happy because I knew she will run a big race, which she did. She’s very genuine and she had no problems handling the surface. I believe she is open to improvement.”
Bin Surour has made a habit, and a nice one at that, of leading home the winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge, and he once again took the honours after Hunters Light ran out an impressive winner of the feature event worth a lucrative $250,000.
De Sousa, who won his first ever Group 1 race in the Godolphin colours aboard the son of Dubawi when successful in the Premio Roma GBI Racing at Capannelle, Italy, last November, was notching his third success with the horse.
The Brazilian-born jockey was delighted with the partnership he has developed with Hunter’s Light and said: “He’s a very nice horse, gives you one hundred percent everytime he runs. He did everything right and won very easily in the end.”
Bin Surour, who was winning the Al Maktoum Challenge for the second year following Mendip in 2012, said: “He’s always been a horse that I like. He has a lot of class.
“He improved from last time and he handled the trip and surface really well. He really showed some real class. We have no plans at the moment but we will find some nice races for him after discussing it with His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.”
Earlier the Eric Lemartinel-trained Albar Lotois won the Purebred Arabian version of the Al Maktoum Challenge in a heart-stopping finish with Versac PY, who was having his second start in only four days having last run at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
“We thought he would run well as he has been showing us everything at home,” said Lemartinel, who might need a new pair of shoes after thumping them on the ground as Albar Lotis and Versac PY raced to the line in a blur.