Dubai: In a year when the UAE Space Agency was established and the launch of a mission to Mars was announced, Meydan racecourse witnessed one of the most intense battles for bragging rights in the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival.
However, it was Godolphin’s Saeed Bin Surour who eclipsed his rivals, South African powerhouse Mike De Kock and fellow Emirati handler Ali Rashid Al Rayhi to emerge not just as the leading trainer but also won a sixth Dubai World Cup with African Story.
Bin Surour saddled 17 wins during the 11-week meeting, among them being the dual winners Prince Bishop, Ihtimal and Excellent Result.
De Kock, who brought a strong string of horses to Dubai, landed some major blows with South African homebred’s Vercingetrix and Variety Club together with Anaerobio, who was a product of the Argentine breeding industry.
Al Rayhi took the challenge to Bin Surour and De Kock - recording some noteworthy success with runners trained at his Grandstand Stables yard which overlooks Meydan Racecourse.
African Story ended Bin Surour’s eight-year wait for another Dubai World Cup triumph and the first since Electrocutionist in 2004. It was the fourth surprise winner in five runnings of the great race at Meydan but there was no doubt about the quality of the winners as the Godolphin-owned galloper, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, ran down another horse with a Dubai connection by two and three quarter lengths.
The prestigious UAE Derby (G1) provided trainer Jamie Osborne with the most valuable winner of his career with Toast Of New York, who annihilated his rivals to nail the 2000 metre contest on the all-weather track.
In the Purebred Arabian ranks, Rabbah De Carrere, ridden by multiple times French champion jockey Olivier Peslier and trained by Majed Al Jahouri, won the Dubai Kahayla Classic (Group 1), one of the most prestigious races for the breed anywhere in the world.
Rabbah De Carrere duly lived up to his high-class family pedigree. The horse’s dam, Mizzna, and grand dam Alanudd both won the race, which is regarded as the equivalent of a World Cup for Purebred Arabians.
Alanudd, in fact, won the Kahayla Classic three times in-a-row from 1997 to 1999 while Mizzna triumphed in 2008.