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Debussy wins top prize for Haya

Darley-bred horse races ahead of Dual Champion Gio Ponti to Claim victory

  • Winning smile
    Debussy, owned by Princess Haya, won the $1 millionArlington Stakes.Image Credit: Rex Features
  • Winning smile
    Jockey William Buick (left)sits on top of Debussy inwinner's circle after winningthe 28th running ofImage Credit: AP
Gulf News

Dubai: Darley-bred Debussy, snatched a thrilling victory in the Arlington Million Stakes (Grade 1) at Arlington Park, Illinois on Saturday to earn a ticket to the prestigious Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (Grade 1) on November 6 at Churchill Downs.

Jockey William Buick, who was based at the Jebel Ali Stables during the 2009-2010 UAE Racing season, surged through an opening on the rails to overtake dual champion Gio Ponti in the final strides and claim a memorable victory for Dubai.

Debussy raced in the colours of Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

He is trained in England by John Gosden, a 59-year-old native of Sussex who was based in California during the 1980s when the Arlington Million was first introduced.

Debussy was bred in Ireland at Shaikh Mohammad's Darley.Stud farm.

The loss was another setback for Gio Ponti, who won last year's Arlington Million before picking up an Eclipse Awards as champion older male and champion turf male. He was also beaten to fourth place by Gloria de Campeao in the $10m Dubai World Cup (Gr 1) at Meydan in March.

Gosden's second runner Tazeez, owned by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, for most of the 2000 metre trip and finished third for jockey Richard Hills.

Commenting on the race Gosden told the Daily Racing Form: "He [Buick] rides cleverly. He doesn't panic ina race. He didn't panic today. He had nowhere to go. I think they just tired the last part and he dashed up the rail and has done it really well. I've been trying to win this race for 28 years."

Buick, who partnered the Gosden-trained Dar Re Mi to victory in the $5m Dubai Sheema Classic (Gr 1) at Meydan racecourse in March, told the Blood-Horse: "I thought, ‘Oh, no, I have so much horse, but I'm not going to have enough room'. But then the hole opened and we got it."

Luca Cumani's Summit Surge, the third British-trained runner in the race, finished fifth.

Previous success

Princess Haya is no stranger to success in America having won the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, the premier North American horse race, in 2008 with Raven's Pass. Earlier the same year her colours were carried to victory in the English Derby when New Approach won the world's premier Classic at Epsom Downs.

In other Grade One races on the card British hope Wigmore Hall finished a length and a half behind top US turf performer Paddy O'Prado Secretariat Stakes, while Duchossois took the Beverly D Stakes, a race named after the late wife of the track chairman.

Meanwhile, California invader Blind Luck scored a dramatic victory in the $500,000 Betfair TVG Alabama Stakes (Gr 1) at Saratoga Race Course and No Hesitation drove a length and a half victory in the Canadian Derby (Gr 3) at Northlands Park.