Dubai: Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Surour is hoping Volcanic Sky has done enough at the Gulf News-sponsored evening of Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday to secure a spot in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup on Dubai World Cup night.
The 6-year-old Street Cry gelding put his name forward by winning the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 2810m, sponsored by Gulf News. The race is two furlongs short of the 3200m trip of the Dubai Gold Cup, but the multiple Dubai World Cup winning Emirati handler is confident distance won’t be a problem for his trainee, who won a handicap over that trip on the Kempton All-Weather in July last year.
Volcanic Sky was tactfully brought up to the front 700m out by Frankie Dettori after tracking the leaders for the major bit. Dettori asked him to kick clear, but the noose tightened in the stretch as stablemates Global Heat and Brilliant Light sneaked in along the rail and to his outside, respectively. Dettori continued to ride hard and in the end, Volcanic Sky had just enough to win by a short head from Global Heat. Brilliant Light finished a further 1.25 lengths back in third under Pat Cosgrave.
Bin Surour will now keep his fingers crossed in the hope of securing Volcanic Sky a Dubai Gold Cup spot as he looks to win the race for the second time. “He is a tough horse and always hits hard,” said Bin Surour.
He (Volcanic Sky) is a big strong horse who always improves after his first run. Frankie Dettori kept him in a nice position tonight throughout the race and I thought he had a chance in the last two furlongs and that he would finish his race well
“He is a big strong horse who always improves after his first run. Frankie Dettori kept him in a nice position tonight throughout the race and I thought he had a chance in the last two furlongs and that he would finish his race well.
“He has his options open now and it would be nice if we can run him in the Gold Cup on Dubai World Cup night.”
Bin Surour’s Godolphin counterpart, Charlie Appleby, continued to dominate at the Carnival and signed off with a hat-trick with Star Safari justifying his top billing in the other feature event of the card - the 2000m Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes, sponsored by gulfnews.com.
William Buick timed his ride to perfection on the 5yo Sea The Stars gelding and the pair burst forward in the straight to win by 1.25 lengths from teammate Bedouin’s Story, trained by Bin Surour and ridden by Dettori. A length back in third was Halimi for Simon Crisford with Atzeni up.
Buick said: “He’s stepped up from the previous year and I really liked what he did tonight with his first run of the campaign.. He’s very straightforward. They are all pretty well-seasoned horses.”
Appleby claimed a 1-2 in the Listed Meydan Classic sponsored by agnc3 with Naval Crown making all under Mickael Barzalona in the 1600m turf contest to deny stablemate Master Of The Seas, ridden by Buick, by 1.75 lengths. Eight lengths back in third was the Mike de Kock schooled Yurman, with Dane O’Neill up.
Bright Melody brought Appleby the first win of the night when winning the getthat.com 1800m turf handicap under James Doyle by 1.75 lengths from bannermate Dubai Mirage. A Bin Surour-Dettori protege, Dubai Mirage finished second while a nose back in third was Prompting for Fawzi Nass (Antonio Fresu up.)
Yas Racing had three big chances in the card-opening PA Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 3), sponsored by GN Focus, and Jean-Claude Pecout’s Brraq showed he was the best as he nailed the 2000m contest, the course and distance a prep for the PA Group 1 Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup day. Brraq clocked a record time of 2:13.58.
The final race on the card the Meydan Challenge (Listed Handicap), sponsored by Friday over 1400m turf, was won by the Musabbeh Al Mheiri-schooled Zainhom.
- The writer is a sports journalist based in Dubai