Dubai: Meydan’s final meeting of 2019, was highlighted by the Dubai Creek Mile (Listed), which was won in thrilling fashion by the Satish Seemar-trained Secret Ambition and jockey Tadhg O’Shea.
The evening was sponsored by pillar partner Mubadala.
The mile looked a cracking and competitive renewal on paper and so it proved with all bar two of the seven runners threatening to win at some stage.
Heavy Metal and Yulong Warrior set the speed and both seemingly still going strongly exiting the home turn.
Rodaini loomed as a big danger, dashing inside the eventual winner, while well-fancied Kimbear looked for room in behind before ultimately tipping to the outside of the winner.
Heavy Metal, winner of this race in 2017, was the first to crack, leaving Yulong Warrior in front for perhaps 100m before he weakened and was passed by his winning stable companion.
Rodaini and Kimbear were both closing in the final 100m, the latter snatching second at the wire, but neither made a dent in the one-length advantage Secret Ambition had established.
Earning his second stakes win of the year after taking February’s Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, the son of Exceed and Excel registered a ninth career success and eighth since joining Zabeel Stables.
“He jumped well, travelled well and he had a good sit in the race,” said O’Shea. “One thing this horse does is he is tough, he is genuine and he loves a fight. He is uncomplicated. He does enough and he gets there. I’m delighted to pick up a spare ride and it’s great for Zabeel.”
Seemar added: “Secret Ambition is a very strong-minded horse. He’s not an easy horse to train at home because of his character. When he has his day, that’s his day. Today he broke the mould because the track was all speed, so it’s nice to see him come back and it sets him up for the (Dubai World Cup) Carnival perfectly.”
The meeting commenced with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the upgraded 1,900m Madjani Stakes sponsored by Masdar (PA G3), for which the maximum field allowed of 16 went to post but only one ever saw the front, Fahad Mohd Aloraini’s Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Aatebat Al Khalediah. Making all under Fernando Jara, the grey 8-year-old mare dominated her foes, while being chased home by Ziyadd and Mawahib. The win improved upon her second last out to ES Ajeeb over 1400m in the Group 2 Bani Yas last month.
“The boss told me to get a good break and a nice position,” Jara said. “She broke so well, we were in front and she was happy so I let her bowl along and enjoy herself over the longest trip she has tackled. She actually ran a bit green at times, so should improve.”
Just over an hour later, Grandstand Stables’ jockey and trainer were celebrating a double, combining with Dubai Avenue to land a 1600m maiden for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Settled in second behind Good Fighter, Jara had to get serious with his mount early in the straight, the pair striking the front fully 400m out, seemingly seeing off that rival only to be challenged immediately by debutant Far Sky. Jara’s mount responded gamely, pulling away from Far Sky, who just retained second place from a rallying Good Fighter.
Owned by Ahmad Al Shaikh, the Bated Breath colt was having his fourth career start, second locally, having finished second over 1,000m on his first UAE start. The victory earned the winner an official rating of 82.
“We were quite hopeful because that was a good run at Jebel Ali behind a decent horse,” Jara said. “We thought the extra distance was in our favour and he battled well when I needed him to.”
An 82 was also earned by dominant filly Down on Da Bayou, who was never tested from her rail post, winning by eight lengths on the wire over 1,400m in the YAHSAT Trophy for 2-year-old fillies. Royston Ffrench was in the saddle for trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer. A daughter of Super Saver, she was clueless on her debut five weeks ago, finding herself almost horizontal to the stalls after an awkward break. Recovering nicely from that run, the half-sister to the UAE Oaks (G3) champ Polar River has now made clear claims on the DWC Carnival’s 3-year-old fillies division.
Ffrench said: “She was very green the first day, but the team have done a lot of work at the stalls with her and she was very professional this evening.”
Group 3 winner My Catch returned to form with style in the 1200m SANAD Trophy handicap under top weight. From stall three of eight, the 8-year-old gelded son of Camacho was soon able to grab the rail under Pat Dobbs, who always looked happy with his mount seemingly travelling strongly with a handful of rivals trying hard to keep up. In the end, it was all in vain, as the seasoned sprinter overpowered his foes in the lane to cement his place at the 2020 DWC Carnival for trainer Watson and owners Valentin Bukhtoyarov & Evgeny Kappushev.
Watson said: “He is a great horse to have in the yard and on his day is a very good, fast horse, so it is brilliant to see him win again. That was a very pleasing performance from horse and jockey and a good result for the owners.”
The evening ended with another win from the team of Dobbs and Watson when Golden Goal made his second start after a two-year break a winning one for owner Dale Brennan. Tracking highly regarded Chiefdom throughout, the two greys hit the stretch appearing the only two likely winners. Confidently handled, the son of Dark Angel won like a horse to look out for — possibly in the DWC Carnival, which commences on January 2. The final time was .72 seconds faster than that of Secret Ambition in the Dubai Creek Mile, raising his rating to 90.