Dubai: Qatar-based trainer Julian Smart proved again that the Dubai Kahayla Classic is his forte by winning his third title when Reda, under Harry Bentley, powered his way to finish in the 2,000-metre, $1 million race for the Purebred Arabians at Meydan on Saturday.
Finishing second, another two and half lengths behind, was Eric Lemartinel-trained RB Burn ridden by Gerald Avranche and owned by Shaikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, adviser to the UAE President. Third place belonged to Patrick Cosgrave’s Sniper de Monlau, also from Qatar, who was another five and half lengths behind.
This was Reda’s second run on dirt and still he produced a sensational result despite getting covered in kickback, said an elated Smart.
“I always knew he had a chance because he’s a late finisher. This is huge for Qatari racing and I’m absolutely delighted to have won this. A phenomenal performance.
“We ran him once over in Doha and couple of weeks ago on the sand to see how he handled it and he did well,” said Smart.
Bentley also hailed Reda’s success saying that his horse weathered the kickbacks brilliantly.
“I was quite a long way back. He just kept persevering and around the bend, he was so full of running and it was just a matter when he’d get there. When you’ve got that many horses ahead of you, you just worry about getting a clear passage. I got squeezed a bit around the top bend but things worked out for me,” said a jubilant Bentley.
AF Mathmoon, trying to retain his title under Jim Crowley, showed a lot of promise in the initial stages of the race by leading from the front. He was followed closely by Loraa and last year’s runner-up TM Thunder Struck with RB Burn giving a close chase.
Into the home stretch, the scenario changed completely, with AF Mathmoon clearly running out of steam and Reda simply unstoppable. AF Mathmoon, who was reported to have bled from both nostrils in his pursuit, ended up finishing a disappointing eighth. Fourth place was bagged by the Francois Rohaut-trained Handassa, ridden by Dane O’Neill, who was another seven and half lengths behind.
Avranche, speaking about his second place finish on RB Burn, said that they had a good run through the trip but taking the lead a bit earlier cost them the top spot.
“I made the move earlier than I wanted. I’d have preferred to have waited and he’s better when you take the lead 200m out but I had no choice today and the horse has picked us up,” said Avranche.
Cosgrave, who settled for third place on Sniper de Monlau, said: “He’s a big horse and he is better suited to a bigger more galloping track. He stayed on well there.”