Dubai: A Group 1 victory may have eluded Italian jockey Antonio Fresu thus far, but it would appear that it’s just a matter of time before he strikes at the top level if his brilliant ride aboard Military Law in Round 1 of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Sponsored By Mina By Azizi on the first day of the 2021 Dubai World Cup Carnival was evidence enough of his natural gifts in the irons.
Prior to the race, a bullish trainer Musabeh Al Muheiri had revealed that Military Law was a better horse than he was last year, and predicted that he had a big chance of winning a race that is a first step towards a potential show at the Group 1 Dubai World Cup.
And the Emirati handler was proved right with the performance that the gelded son of Dubawi produced to outshine a high-class field for a comfortable length and a quarter victory over the strong finishing Thegreatcollection, ridden by Pat Cosgrave for Doug Watson.
Bahraini raider Salute the Soldier ran another solid race for Adrie de Vries and Fawzi Nass.
In a well-contested renewal of the UAE’s iconic ace Tadhg O’Shea and Roman Rosso ran on for fourth a shorthead further back with Uruguay’s Ajuste Fiscal a nose behind in fifth place.
Fresu, who won Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge in 2017 aboard Furia Cruzada, said: “I’ve been riding him since last and he always give me a great feeling.
“Today he was fresh. He jumped well and travelled really well in the race. I wanted to go a bit early because I knew he will stay. He responded very well and he kept on to the line.
“Winning this race means a lot but we need to see what is the plan, to keep him in Dubai or go to Saudi (Arabia). But let’s see how he comes out of this race first.”
Earlier Lord Glitters, who has been a flag bearer for David O’Meara’s yard in the UK, rolled back the years to post a bit of an upset in the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes Sponsored By Riviera By Azizi over a mile and one.
The French-bred, who finished third in the 2018 Dubai Turf before recording his biggest victory when taking out the Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot in the UK, cut a dashing picture when galloping down the Meydan turf to post a three length victory over Charlie Appleby’s Zakouski with Dream Castle a length and a half in third.
“I’ve ridden for David before so I was very happy to pick up a nice spare ride,” said de Vries. “The start wasn’t planned this way, he missed the kick just a little bit but the pace was good enough for me not to panic and sit where I was.
“He did things very quickly in the straight and half way down the straight I knew I was going to win and he did it very nicely.”
Meanwhile, eight-time UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea showed why he is Top Gun around this part of the world when riding a perfectly judged race aboard Switzerland to land the Group 3 1,200 metre Dubawi Stakes Sponsored By Park Avenue.
The seven-year-old son of Speightstown, whose last success came back in May 2018 at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, was trained by Satish Seemar who has now won the Dubawi Stakes six times in the last seven renewals.
Waady produced a big effort to finish a length and a quarter second with favourite Gladiator King third by the same margin.
“I rode him at Meydan last week and his work was phenomenal. He hasn’t gone as fast as he did on this track,” said O’Shea who has been in red-hot form all season.
“I think he’s good enough to run in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1). It was a very, very good performance in what rode like a very good race.
Walton Street ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Listed Dubai Racing Club Classic Sponsored By Aliyah By Azizi Listed Handicap dominating his 13 rivals for most of the 2,400 metre trip for a five-length victory over fellow Godolphin challenger Dubai Future.
Trainer Charlie Appleby was delighted with his performance and was immediately looking ahead to the Dubai City of Gold on Super Saturday in March.
“William (Buick) gave him a great ride,” noted Appleby. “He was fresh for the first half of the trip but once he got into a rhythm it was just a matter of picking him up, and he did it well.
“He brings plenty of guts and plenty of experience around here to the table.”
“I think he deserves a shot at the City of Gold. He runs well fresh. It’s a condensed Carnival this year so we’ll head straight for the City Of Gold,” he added.