Dubai: The Saudi Arabian team got their evening at the Dubai World Cup off to a great start when Tallaab Al Khalediah broke the track record (2.13.69 seconds) to take the Kahayla Classic under a super ride from Roberto Perez. Never outside the first three, he won it impressively in the end — going away from his field and staying on right to the line to become the first-ever winner in this race for Saudi Arabia.
When the race got underway, AF Al Sajanje took the lead and set a scorching pace for the first 700 metres with an advantage at one stage of five lengths. He was all the time being tracked by the winner and Cakouet De Bozouls, who were both laying up nicely. At 800 metres, AF Al Sajanje waved the white flag letting Roberto Perez steer his unbeaten son of Jalood Al Khalidiah into the lead.
With 500 metres to go, the race was really on in earnest as Barnamaj laid down a huge challenge. He got nearly level before the winner pulled more out of the locker and went clear again.
Once clear, Tallaab Al Khalediah showed signs of greenness in veering off his line but this was only a temporary blip as he managed to re-assert and Perez was strong. Mawahib also challenged up the rail and he looked to be a big danger but running on strongest was the eventual second Chaddad who made progress from the rear and was really closing at the finish under a patient strong Oisin Murphy ride.
“It is not just a win for our stable but it is a win for all of the owners in Saudi Arabia. It is a great win and the credit goes to a great horse, a great trainer and a great jockey. It was a tough competition and this horse can go against any other Arabian horse. It was all about hard work, training and it paid off,” said Prince Fahad Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, son of owner Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz.
Perez, who was celebrating his first Group 1 Purebred Arabian victory, said: “Yes the bridle came off in his last race, but I managed to get it back on and they changed a few things today to stop that happening again”.
I feel so excited, It is the second big win for this horse and I have ridden him both times. When I put him into the front, I knew I had to save a little bit as he has been winning over 1800m and had 200m more to go today, but he stayed it well. The race went very well and he did nothing wrong”.
It was a fabulous race and provided a wonderful conclusion to the Purebred Arabian racing season in the UAE. This unbeaten horse looks like the sky is the limit for him.
— With inputs from N.D. Prashant, Staff Reporter