Dubai: Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby won two of the world’s most iconic races, the Epsom Derby and Melbourne Cup, last season and he claimed another piece of racing history at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night when he won a first UAE Oaks, with Divine Image.
With His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai — who founded the Godolphin operation — watching on, Appleby teamed up with stable jockey William Buick to win two of the featured races on a glittering six-race card.
Divine Image wore down the front running Swift Rose, ridden by Hayler Turner for Godolphin’s pioneering trainer Saeed Bin Surour in the final stages of the 1,900-metre contest.
Once she [Divine Image] saw a little daylight I knew that she would get there as she’s a horse with a nice turn
of foot and a lot of spirit.
Bin Surour was denied a 11th success in the race that he has made his own ever since Laoub won the inaugural running of the fillies’ Classic back in 2001.
Appleby said that Divine Image was a filly with a lot of talent and “still learning”. “She obviously likes the surface out here as she handled it pretty well today,” he said. “She’s still learning but is progressing nicely with each race. Once she saw a little daylight I knew that she would get there as she’s a horse with a nice turn of foot and a lot of spirit.”
Silva, an impressive winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas earlier in the season, looked to have every chance to give French trainer Pia Brandt a Classic double in Dubai, but failed to show the sparkle that saw her run away with the Guineas.
Godolphin’s previous successes in the Guineas came in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
Shaikh Mohammad, who was making a first appearance at the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival, could not have picked a better day with Godolphin horses in top form, as they have been all season.
Earlier in the evening, and for the second time this season, Godolphin’s Spotify displayed great fighting qualities to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, when staying on readily to win the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes, sponsored by Jaguar.
Ridden by James Doyle, the five-year-old French-bred son of Australian stallion Redoute’s Choice, made every yard of the 2,000 metre trip count and then gallantly repelled the challenge thrown down by French ace Christophe Soumillon aboard the Saeed Bin Surour-trained Racing history, to score by a nose.
Appleby’s First Nation, the mount of Buick, was a length and a half back in third in a competitively run race.