Gladiator King, ridden by the jockey Mickael Barzalona, won the Al Shindagha Sprint - the lead-up race to Dubai Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup night. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Thursday’s fifth meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival provided several key takeaways heading towards the landmark 25th Dubai World Cup in March.

Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby dominated the seven-race card by sending out three winners led by the outstanding Barney Roy, but it was veteran Dubai-based handler Satish Seemar who sported the biggest smiles at Meydan Racecourse following another huge performance by his new sprint star, Gladiator King.

A smart winner of the Dubawi Stakes on the opening night of the DWC, Gladiator King announced himself to be a major player in the $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, where Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) runner-up Shancelot set the benchmark.

Ridden by Mickael Barzalona, the former US campaigner who now races in the colours of Shaikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, held of American hopeful Truck Salesman in the final metres of the Al Shindagha Sprint.

Ibn Malik and defending champion Drafted finished strongly to suggest that another meeting between the quartet is very much on the cards.

“We were very pleased with the way he did it today,” said Barzalona. “He has some natural speed. If he would be in front, it wouldn’t be a problem for him.

“He’s a lovely horse he’s easy to ride and hopefully there’s more to come.”

Seemar, who trained Reynaldothewizard to win the race in 2015, was full of praise for his new recruit.

“The horse, even at home, knows what he’s doing and knows where the finish line is,” he said.

“He’s not one of those who wastes energy, but he is a powerhouse horse and he knew what was going on in the race.

“He was stalking them and waiting and finished the job when Mickael asked him. It’s good to have a horse like that.”

Meanwhile, Godolphin’s Barney Roy was all class as he rolled back the years to win the Group 2 Al Rashidiya, a victory that most certainly points towards the $6million Dubai Turf G1) where he is likely to be confronted by the likes of Almond Eye, Benbatl and Admire Mars.

A high-class performer in 2017, where he won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, Barney Roy was retired to stud at the end of year.

However, having proved subfertile at Darley’s Dalham Hall Stud in England, he was gelded and returned to racing as part of Epsom Derby-winning handler Charlie Appleby’s Moulton Paddocks team.

Making his first appearance at Meydan on Thursday, the six-year-old son of Excelebration made light of his seven rivals, including defending Al Rashidiya champion Dream Castle to post an impressive 2¼ length victory over the latter.

Godolphin runners occupied the top four places in the race with the Saeed Bin Surour-trained Mountain Hunter finishing third and Appleby’s second string and pacemaker, Loxley, taking fourth.

William Buick, Appleby’s retained rider, was full of praise for Barney Roy and said: “He’s entitled to come on a lot because he’s had that time off (unraced in 2018).

“Obviously he was a little fresh beforehand, but (overall) a great performance from a good horse.

Dream Castle was a good bench marker in the race. It’s a very pleasing performance so for him its onwards and upwards. My guess is something on World Cup night, presumably the Dubai Turf

- William Buick

“Dream Castle was a good bench marker in the race. It’s a very pleasing performance so for him its onwards and upwards. My guess is something on World Cup night, presumably the Dubai Turf,” added Buick.

Earlier in the evening champion jockey Richard Mullen rode Ziyadd to win Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G1) for Purebred Arabian horses, a performance that will see him contest the final leg en route to the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup day.

Godolphin also dominated the Listed Meydan Cup sending out the first three home in the 2,800 metre contest which is an early pointer to the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night.

The race proved to be an absolutely thriller with Appleby’s Secret Advisor edging ahead in the final strides under multiple UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea to derby Bin Surour’s Dubai Horizon, the mount of Harry Bentley.

Meydan regular, Dubhe, was third in the hands of Brette Doyle.