Horseracing - Secret Ambition
Secret Ambition (right), saddled by champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea, on way to winning the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes at Meydan. Satish Seemar, who saddled him, completed a double when his ward Topper Bill clinched the Conditions Meydan Classic Trial over 1400m on turf. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Defending champion trainer Satish Seemar and his riding equivalent Tadhg O’Shea combined to land the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes as Secret Ambition made it look all too easy during his stunning romp in the mile contest, one of the feature events on Thursday night’s Dubai World Cup Carnival card at Meydan.

A perfect burst from the gates saw the 8-year-old son of Exceed And Excel set the pace under O’Shea, who drove him fiercely to the lead from where even though the pace evened out after a few furlongs, the pair maintained their hold to win commandingly. Secret Ambition burned the track in the straight but was reined in for a three-and-three fourths length victory by Salem Bin Ghadayer’s second-placed Hypothetical, Royston Ffrench up. A further length and three-fourths back was Doug Watson’s Kimbear with Pat Dobbs in the saddle.

Seemar said: “He (Secret Ambition) always runs honestly and full credit to Tadhg for giving him a very good ride. It was a smart move from Tadhg who got him forward and into a good spot. He’s that kind of a horse and once he gets going, he’s hard to catch. We will discuss with the connections whether to go straight to the big day and the Godolphin Mile or run him before that. This was an important win for the horse and connections.”


O’Shea added: “I was glad that he flew the gates and we were going some nice fractions and then I gave him a breather and we went again. He’s definitely one for the Godolphin Mile.”

Sheemar enjoyed a double later when Richard Mullen brought Topper Bill home with a length and-a-quarter to spare in the Conditions Meydan Classic Trial over 1400m on turf.

The other feature event of the night, the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas served up a nail-biting finish with jockey Ryan Curatolo and his racing partner Mouheeb throwing the kitchen sink at their rivals in the 1600m contest and winning with the final stride for trainer Nicholas Bachalard and owner Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Bin Ghadayer’s Meshakel set a blistering pace, with Mouheeb running steadily in third. With Barzalona deciding to push Meshakel harder, Curatolo nudged Mouheeb. The pair had quite a bit of ground to make up and with the three-year-old son of Flatter lengthening his stride in the straight, they were able to stick their neck ahead on the line. Charlie Appleby’s Naval Crown faded to finish third under William Buick.

Mouheeb has now put his hands up for the Group 2 UAE Derby in the process with connections having received an invite for this month’s Saudi Derby as well. Bachalard said a decision would be made in a few days after assessing the horse’s condition.

“The horse ran a good race and once Meshakel left at the 600m, I thought it would take a good horse to come and get him. Fortunately, our horse switched gears at the right time and just got there on the wire. I’d say we were fortunate,” Bachalard said.

Godolphin were hard to oppose in the Listed Meydan Cup over 2810m of turf and duly took the first five spots with the Frankie Dettori-ridden Dubai Future leading in teammates Volcanic Sky and Global Heat, ridden by Pat Cosgrave and Hector Crouch, respectively.

The opening race of the night, a 1200m sprint handicap on dirt, was won by Canvassed - trained by Doug Watson and ridden by Pat Dobbs.

- The writer is a sports journalist based in the UAE