Dubai: An iconic venue, competitive fields and adrenaline-fuelled races combined to provide an evening of top-class entertainment as Gulf News, the UAE’s leading English-language newspaper and digital portal, returned to sponsor the seven-event card at Meydan Racecourse.
You could not have asked for better start to the proceedings as the opening race and day’s feature, the Group 2 Bani Yas by Gulf News, delivered a shock result and introduced a potential Purebred Arabian superstar in the form of 33/1 longshot Jayide Al Boraq.
With up-and-coming brazilian jockey Bernardo Pinheiro riding the perfect race, the six-year-old son of Burning Sand lowered the colours of the big international favourite and Group 1 scorer Rb Money To Burn, by a comfortable length-and-three-quarters.
For the most part the 1,400m opener, which was the first Group race of the season run at Meydan, was a two-horse contest with the rest of the field left to battle for the lower placings.
Rb Money To Burn, winner of the first leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge last season, dominated the early running and was shaping like a winner when he opened up a big lead at the top of the straight.
But he soon began to tire despite the urgings of jockey Fabrice Veron, as the challenge of the grey Jayide Al Boraq loomed large. In a matter of strides Pinheiro’s mare found another set of gears to rein in the leader and dash past for a compelling win.
“This is a dream come true, to ride a Group winner for the people who have supported me for the past four years,” said the youngster paying tribute to trainer Khalifa Al Neyadi and owner’s Al Rahmani Racing.
“He’s an amazing horse, he’s lost just twice and that was on turf. He proved himself to be top class beating all the top horses.”
The remaining six races were all confined to throughbreds with the main event being the gulfnews.com conditions event, a mile that ended in a thrilling photo-finish where Antonio’s Fresu’s Casey Jones prevailed over Thegreatcollection, the mount of Pat Cosgrave.
“It was very tight in the end, but it was a nice battle,” said the Italian rider. “Running him in the mile was a good idea and the horse came with a great run in the final furlong. We were lucky to win this because the other horse was also travelling well and not going away.”
The winner was racing out of the Meydan-based stables of Emirati Musabeh al Muheiri, who was completing a treble having won the getthat.com maiden with Dubai sale bargain purchase Antonio Vivaldi and the concluding ace of the night, The Watch Time handicap, with Welsh Lord. Fresu was the man in the saddle on all three occasions.
By their own standards, runners from the Zabeel Stables may have been flying under the radar a bit until now but seasoned campaigner Lavaspin rolled back the years to put one into the scorebooks for trainer Satish Seemar when he won the AGNC3 Handicap under champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea.