Dubai: Godolphin’s Mendip was denied a slice of UAE racing history when he was beaten to fourth place by Musir in opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge (Group 3) on day three of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan racecourse yesterday.
The son of Harlan’s Holiday was bidding to become the first horse in the history of the race to win it twice.
Musir, a former UAE 2000 Guineas and Derby winner, was a resounding three-length winner of the race under Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon.
“He’s like a superstar, he’s just an amazing horse,” said Soumillon. “Two years ago he showed us how good he was by winning two Classic here. But I think he’s a much better horse this year.”
Mike De Kock, who trains Musir added: “I think his preparation has been better this year. He ran some big races in England and broke the course record at Turkey where he won a Group 2 race. I’d like to run him in the Dubai Duty Free (Group 1). I think he’ll be an even better horse on turf.”
Earlier in the evening, Sahib Du Clos continued his rise to the top order among Purebred Arabians when winning a thrilling renewal of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan Racecourse yesterday.
Ridden by Royston Ffrench, trainer Saifaldin Deeb’s National Day Cup hero swooped past favourite Kandar Du Flagas, the mount of Richard Hills, to prevail by a head in a tight finish. Albar Lotois, ridden by French ace Oliver Peslier was a neck back in third.
“We are very pleased with this result. He is a horse that we have liked for a long time and we will now target him at the President’s Cup and the Dubai Kahayla Classic,” said proud owner Faisal Al Rahmani, who acquire the horse in a private sale in France.
“We won many big races but to win a race like the Al Maktoum Challenge at this fabulous racecourse is very special.”
Singapore trained Dark Matter won a well contested 2000 Guineas Trial under former seven-time UAE champion jockey Ted Durcan.
Kinglet was second, a half a length behind for Mickael Barzalona while favourite Rassam, the mount of Frankie Dettori took third, three quarters of a length further back.
“He’s a huge horse, strong horse. He really helped me out,” said Durcan. “The mile or the 1800 will not be an issue. He’s a nice horse for the future.”
Trainer Steven Burridge, who has brought four horses to Dubai for the Carnival, was delighted with the result and said: “It’s good to start off with a win, weather we can go on or not is another thing but we’re hopeful we can.
“He’s a very well put together horse. He’s won over 1400m but we’re confident he’ll go further that why we brought him over to challenge for some of the big races. Obviously the plan will be the 2000 Guineas next.”
Race 1. Al Maktoum Challenge R1 Sponsored by Etisalat (PA Group 1) 1600m (All-Weather):
1. Sahib Du Clos (S Deeb) Royston Ffrench; 2. Kandar Du Flagas; 3. Albar Lotois; 4. Dariya.
Distances: Head, Neck, 1Length. Time: 1:49.06secs.
Race 2. Etisalat My Plan Handicap (TB Handicap) 1400m (AW):
1. Barbecue Eddie (D Watson) Richard Hills; 2. Ariete Arrollador; 3 Russian Rock; 4. Tertio Bloom.
Distances: 1.75Length, 0.75L, 2.25L. Time: 1:24:66secs.
Race 3. Etisalat elife Handicap (TB) 1200m Turf:
1. Addictive Dream (D Nicholls) Adrian Nicholls; 2. Internationaldebut; 3. The Reaper; 4. Apache Crown.
Distances: 1.5Length, 1.25L, 1.25L. Time: 01.10.62secs.
Race 4. UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Sponsored by Etisalat (TB 3yo only) 1400m (AW):
1. Dark Matter (S Burridge) Ted Durcan; 2. Kinglet; 3. Rassam; 4. Mehdi.
Distances: 0.5Length, 0.75L, 1L. Time: 1:24:63secs.
Race 5: Etisalat My Data Plan Handicap (TB) 2000m Turf:
1. Nasqhabban (M Al Zarouni) Frankie Dettori; 2. Jedi; 3. Emirates Champion; 4. Ottoman Empire.
Distances: 2Length, 3L, 0.5L. Time: 2:54.38secs.
Race 6. Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (Group 3) (TB) 1600m (AW):
1. Musir (Mike de Kock) Christophe Soumillon; 2. Master of Hounds; 3. Secrecy; 4. Mendip.
Distances: 3Length, 1L,Time: 1:35:85.