Dubai: The race started with a stunning break which saw XY Jet burst out of the stalls and assume the lead. Rich Tapestry was inside him and was all out to defend his position on the rails. The pace was run fast and Muarrab got in to contention and found himself vying for second by the 1000 metre mark. The placing remained largely unchanged as they entered the straight where XY Jet forged clear for America.
Then there was the most titanic battle to win the race. XY Jet was in front as they went head to head, nostril to nostril, stride for stride for over 400 metres. It looked like XY Jet was going to repel the irresistible challenge of Muarrab but with 50 metres to go his resolve faltered slightly and Muarrab just found some energy and managed to just nudge ahead of his rival.
Muarrab is a popular locally-trained horse and the UAE racing community will be delighted with this victory. He is one of the best when you see him at Jebel Ali and he has managed to take that form here to Meydan where his 13th win of his 24 race career. He was brilliant on Super Saturday when he sauntered away with the Mahab Al Shimaal and he was equally brilliant again on Saturday night in a totally different challenge.
This win for the son of Oasis Dream would have been a real relief for Paul Hanagan, who is the first jockey for the Shadwell team, and he was very complimentary after.
“It was great for Shaikh Hamdan (Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance to have two winners on the card on this great night,” he said.
“He is such a star this horse and so laid back. They went really quick and the other horse was very hard to pass but we did it. This horse is so genuine.”
He continued: “He is a very, very tough horse. If he is in a duel with someone, nine out of 10 times he will come out as winner. This is a unique characteristic in him and we are thrilled that we are aware of this quality in him. In the end he gave it his all. Overall, it was simply such a huge team effort. We were always confident of him.”
Musabah Al Muhairi, trainer of Muarrab, was understandably ecstatic.
“This is the second win of the night,” he said. “We are now waiting for the big one to come in the final race. Muarrab is an easy-going horse. Going into the race I was very concerned about the outside horses as all of them had such good times. But our horse has proved that you also need a huge heart to win.”
Jorge Navarro, trainer of X Y Jet, who came second, said: “Of course anyone would love to win here, but perhaps it is not my time for a win. The duel went all the way, and I suppose it was the fighter that took the honours.”
Emisael Jaramillo, jockey of X Y Jet, said: “I got beaten fair and square but he’s run his heart out. There was no let up from the go and there was no chance to get a breather into him. He still managed to run like a champion. He was very tough to pass and it was only close to the wire that the winner got past. Although he was second he was still a champion to me.”
Chris Hayes, jockey of Morawij, who finished third, said: “I was very happy. It was the first time on that surface and the first time over that trip with a bend. I used up a bit of gas at the wrong time because of the draw. He’ll be back next year. He’s a good horse.”
Muarrab looks absolutely top notch and many will hope that he will be back again to defend his title here.