Dubai: Twelve months after he finished a well-beaten third in the Dubai World Cup, American galloper Well Armed returned to Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in 2009 to complete some unfinished business.
And he did so in imperious fashion storming to a record 14-length victory over Brazilian-bred Gloria de Campeao in what was the last running of the great race at Nad Al Sheba racecourse, which would make way for the majestic Meydan arena with the dawn of the new millennium.
Well Armed proved that with a good condition like ex-Godolphin handler Eoin Harty a horse can climb by the ranks and really go places.
Before winning the Dubai World Cup, the son of Tiznow, who was bred at the Kentucky-based Winstar Farm, one of North America’s leading thoroughbred racing, stallion and breeding operations, had posted minor victories in England, Dubai and the United States.
He contested the $2 million UAE Derby in 2006 and finished 11th behind Godolphin’s Discreet Cat after suffering a fractured pelvis during the race.
He would return to America where he was operated upon but recovered to return to the track after a break of 558 days. Starting in an allowance race at Santa Anita he delivered a heart-warming performance finishing fourth, before he bounced back to winning ways at Hollywood Park in November 2007.
“He’s an amazing horse,” said Harty, before the Dubai World Cup. “He takes everything in his stride and always gives his best.
“He’s a wonderful horse to have in the yard and he likes it out here in Dubai, and that’s why we keep bringing him back He ran well in the 2008 Dubai World Cup so we have got to be hopeful.”
In the race Well Armed broke well under regular jockey Aaron Gryder who pushed him to lead. Breaking into a fine rhythm Well Armed looked like a well-oiled machine as he led the field into the Nad Al Sheba straight before drawing clear at the 600 metre marker to win drawing away.
French-trained Gloria de Campeao finished second with South African-bred and Saudi Arabian-bred Paris Perfect taking third.
The 2/1 favourite, Asiatic Boy finished 12th of 14 runners.
A second injury would curtail Well Armed’s inspiring career in 2011 and lead to his retirement. Harty said at the time: “He is the epitome of a racehorse and dearly loves his task. He is a barn favourite and he will be dearly missed.”
Winstar boss Bill Casner summed by the career of one of the Dubai World Cup’s most famous winners, saying: “Well Armed certainly occupies a special place in my heart.
“He was a horse that had true grit. He chipped a knee and fractured a hip as a 3-year-old, yet he came back to win the richest race in the world by an unimaginable margin. He had the desire and will to overcome adversity.”