Dubai: Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour started the 2020 Dubai World Cup Cup Carnival the way that he ended the UAE racing season in March last year, by winning the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial Sponsored by Emirates NBD Business Banking Stakes with the hugely impressive Final Song.
At last season’s final meeting at Meydan, Bin Surour landed the $12 million Dubai World Cup with stable flag-bearer Thunder Snow, and on Thursday night continued from where he left off to bag the opening race of the Carnival which will culminate in the historic 25th running of the 2020 World Cup on March 28.
Ridden to perfection by Bin Surour’s regular jockey, the multiple French champion Christophe Soumillon, Final Song showed an instant liking for the Meydan dirt as he ploughed through the two front runners Down On Da Bayou (Mickael Barzalona) and favourite Rio Angie (Patrick Dobbs) to cross the line one-and-three-quarter lengths to the good.
Final Song was making her dirt debut after placing twice at Group 2 level in Britain last summer when chasing home Raffle Prize in the Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot and again in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket.
Soumillion, who moved into the 90s for number of wins at the Carnival, was full of praise for his filly and said: “When we came out of the turn they (Down On Da Bayo and Rio Angie) took off from the rest of the field.
“I took the inside option to save ground and she really quickened inside the two furlongs to win well.
“When she ran in England, I told Saeed that she could go further. On a flat track like this I think she can handle the mile,” the Belgian ace added.
“She relaxed and jumped out of the gate very well. She’s got everything on her side.”
Back to his favourite hunting ground at Meydan, Bin Surour was pleased to get off the mark early and said: “It’s always nice to win a race here at Meydan, in front of all your family, friends and fellow Emiratis.
“She’s a horse I have always liked. She ran well against high-quality opposition in England, so I was hopeful she will run well.
“The only question mark was the dirt, but she has the action and attitude to handle the surface, like we saw today.
“She’s improving all the time and has been really enjoying the weather here in Dubai.
“We’ll see how she comes out of the race and all going well will head to the Guineas next.”
Bin Surour was saddling winner No. 233 at the Carnival which was first held back in 2004.
Third-placed Rio Angie caught the eye when she won over course and distance in November, when she had the measure of Down On Da Bayou. However, the last named reversed the form under a good ride by Dubai World Cup-winning jockey Barzalona.