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2012 flashback: When Monterosso brooked no stopping

Mickael Barzalona leads Darley Stud-bred five-year-old horse to outright victory

Monterosso wins the Dubai World Cup.
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Monterosso wins the Dubai World Cup.
Gulf News

Dubai: It was Monterosso all the way at the 17th running of the Dubai World Cup. Making his second attempt at the Dubai World Cup, Monterosso started at odds of 20/1 against 12 opponents on the evening of March 31. Mickael Barzalona settled the horse well in the middle of the field before moving strongly through to dispute the lead in the straight.

Monterosso overtook Capponi one and a half furlongs from the finish and drew clear to win comfortably by three lengths, to hand Godolphin Racing with their fifth win in the history of the race.

Typical of him, Barzalona celebrated before the finish by standing up in his stirrups and waving his whip to the crowd, something similar to what he did while winning the Epsom Derby on Pour Moi.

Foaled in 2007, Monterosso is a British-bred thoroughbred racehorse that was originally trained in Great Britain, where he won three handicap races and the King Edward VII Stakes as a three-year-old in 2010.

At the end of 2010, Monterosso had transferred to Dubai. On his first start for his new trainer, he contested the Group Two Dubai City of Gold over twelve and a half furlongs on turf at Meydan. Ridden for the first time by Mickael Barzalona he took the lead in the straight and won by one and a quarter lengths from his stable companion Calvados Blues.

In 2011, Monterosso was brought back in distance to ten furlongs and switched to tapeta for the world’s most valuable race, the Dubai World Cup. Starting as a 40/1 outsider, he tracked the leaders and stayed on well in the closing stages to finish third, beaten half a length and a neck by the Japanese runners Victoire Pisa and Transcend. He then missed the rest of the 2011 season after contracting colic.

Godolphin decided to run him again in 2012 and this is when Monterosso delivered with the biggest win of his career.

Monterosso was very distinctive in his features: a dark-coated bay horse with a white sock on his right hind foot. Monterosso was bred at the Darley Stud in England owned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Monterosso’s sire, Dubawi won the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Prix Jacques le Marois before going on to a successful stud career, siring winners including Makfi (2000 Guineas) and Poet’s Voice (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes). His dam, Porto Roca, was a successful Australian racehorse, winning the Coolmore Classic in 2001.

After his biggest win in Dubai, it was announced that Monterosso and Capponi would return to England for the rest of the European flat season, although a run in the Singapore Airlines International Cup was also being considered at that stage.

Monterosso made his next appearance in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on July 7. He tracked the leaders and briefly reached third place in the straight but faded in the closing stages to finish eighth of the nine runners behind Nathaniel.

As a six-year-old, Monterosso returned to Dubai in the winter of 2012-13 but made only one appearance in the 2013 season. On March 9, he finished tenth of the 12 runners in the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge.