Dubai: Shock winners continued to rule the Dubai World Cup when for the fifth time in six runnings, the race produced an unexpected result with the 14/1 chance Prince Bishop upstaged a world-class field to give his trainer Saeed Bin Surour a seventh win in the race.
What many experts overlooked prior to the race was that despite being a little old in tooth and at the age of eight, Prince Bishop was a hardened son of the great Dubawi and as resilient and versatile as they come.
This was his fourth attempt at winning the $10 million contest following placed efforts in 2011 (10th) , 2012 (7th) and 2014 (9th). In between, in 2013, he attempted a longer trip in the 2,400 metre Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) only to finish 10th behind the Irish star St. Nicholas Abbey.
But all these performances had stood him in good stead and still ‘full of fight’ as his work rider, the former multiple British champion jockey Kieran Fallon, would tell his boss, Bin Surour.
- Dubai World Cup Flashback 2011: Tears of joy as Japan score emotional victory at Meydan
- Dubai World Cup flashback — 2012: Daring Barzalona and Monterosso
- Dubai World Cup Flashback 2010: Gloria makes it third time lucky
- Dubai World Cup flashback — 2014: The seven-year itch and a Story that touched many hearts
In fact, Fallon impudently predicted that Prince Bishop had what it takes to win a race like the Dubai World Cup and that, even at the age of eight, he was better than ever.
Many missed those valuable remarks from one of flat-racing’s most knowledgeable horsemen, which meant that Prince Bishop would go into the Dubai World Cup on its return to a dirt surface at Meydan, as one of the many outsiders.
California Chrome was the huge 5/4 favourite with fellow American challenger, Lea the 4/1 second favourite.
Bin Surour was least concerned about Prince Bishop going into the race as a dark horse, on the contrary he was happy to fly under the radar of the popular vote, something he has always told me was better than going into a race a hot favourite and getting beaten.
With Scandinavian jockey William Buick, who only a month earlier had joined the powerful Godolphin stable as a retained rider, in the irons, Prince Bishop rolled back the years and ran the race of his life.
As expected, Japanese contender Hokko Tarumae led the nine-horse field into a Meydan straight, radiating in the solar-powered lights as the two American dirt specialists, California Chrome and Lea, began to get busy.
As the field settled for the run to the judge, Buick and Prince Bishop loomed up large on the outside at the 300 meter mark.
Sensing something special was going to happen, the crowd of over 50,000 rose to their feet and screamed their hearts.
It was in this state of delirium at Meydan that Prince Bishop and Buick majestically overtook the frontrunners and stormed to a victory nearly three lengths ahead of California Chrome with Lea staying on for third.
The cheers would continue as Prince Bishop’s owner, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, led in the winner - his first in the Dubai World Cup.