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Godolphin treble with two lowering track records


SUPER SATURDAY at Meydan proved just that for Godolphin who celebrated a turf treble, taking their 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival haul to a record 31. Pride of place went to Blair House who showed a sparkling turn of foot to gain his first Group One success, on his Pattern race debut, in the 1m1f Jebel Hatta. The 5yo, an impressive course and distance handicap winner for Charlie Appleby on 17 February, was soon covered up towards the rear of the 11 runners on the inside rail by James Doyle. Blair House only had one horse behind him turning for home, but travelled strongly to race behind the leaders entering the final 2f.

After briefly having to wait for a gap, the son of Pivotal darted down the inside between horses to hit the front entering the last furlong and ran on to prevail by three quarters of a length. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Benbatl, the mount of Oisin Murphy and who raced on the outside of the field throughout after breaking slowly, went from sixth to take up the running briefly over a furlong from home and rallied to regain second by a head from Janoobi near the line. His stable companion, Promising Run, was fourth under Harry Bentley with William Buick sixth on Folkswood, a stablemate of the winner.

Charlie Appleby said: “We thought that Blair House would run a big race; he was so well in himself and on a roll so we thought that the race might fall into his hands the way it did. “I must give full credit to Nick who rides him and the team at home, who have a done a great job freshening the horse up. Nick said Blair House felt great going into the race. “They have gone nice fractions in front and every horse had their chance. “I told James to ride Blair House for a bit of luck around the inside and everything worked out great. “It was a great ride by James and I am delighted for him to get a Group One on the board.

“Blair House has gained so much confidence out here. It’s not the first time we have seen a horse come out here for the handicaps and grow in confidence by enjoying themselves. “He owes us nothing now and deserves to line up in the Dubai Turf on the big night.” James Doyle added: “Blair House found half a split and it almost came too soon for me; he burst to the front really well and then had a look at the cameras late on. “He seems to enjoy being covered up and being taken back behind horses. The way he won his handicap was the same and he loved me having to keep taking him back.

“Blair House has been thriving at home and all his work has been great. He looked a million dollars tonight and Charlie felt that it was worth throwing our hat into the ring. It was a great call by him. “The Dubai Turf will be a much stronger field, but we will enjoy today and look forward to Dubai World Cup Night.” Later on the card, Doyle was denied by an Appleby stablemate when William Buick and Hawkbill, on seasonal debut, denied Frontiersman with the 5yos dominating throughout most of the straight in the 2410m Group 2 Dubai City of Gold. Both horses broke well, with Frontiersman taking up the running after a furlong as Hawkbill disputed fifth towards the outside of the 13 runners.

Hawkbill started to take closer order around runners on the final turn and cruised up to take a narrow advantage as they straightened up. But Frontiersman rallied strongly and pressed his stable companion all the way to the line, with Hawkbill prevailing by a head, breaking the track record in the process. Gold Star, ridden by Jim Crowley, was third for Bin Suroor, staying on strongly but five lengths behind Frontiersman. Appleby said: “I was delighted with the performances of both Hawkbill and Frontiersman.

They were the two class horses in the race and we always felt that, if they brought their European form to the table, they would be the two horses to beat. “Hawkbill has shown his class and we will aim him at the Dubai Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night.

“I was very pleased with Frontiersman as well. I think that we have something to work with; he put his head down and has run as straight as a gun barrel. “We are still learning a bit about him and it hopefully won’t be long before we can win a nice race with him.” William Buick added: “Hawkbill has been a great horse to ride over the years. We knew that he was going to turn up tonight as he had been in good form at home and the team have done a great job with the horse. “We hoped beforehand that it would be between Hawkbill and Frontiersman, which is how it worked out, and they both showed tenacity and quality.

“I didn’t think that I had a very good run around, so I would hope that Hawkbill’s performance is value for a little bit more. “It was a nice performance and I think that we can go into the Dubai Sheema Classic quite hopeful. “Maurizio Pasquale, who rides Hawkbill every day at home, said that he felt that the horse would be 85% tonight and he is never far wrong, so there is plenty left to work on. “The Dubai Sheema Classic is going to be much tougher, so he will need to improve, but is a Group One winner already.” Saeed bin Suroor commented: “I was pleased with the performance of Gold Star on his first run in a Group Two race.

We will see how he comes out of today before making any plans.” Earlier on the card, Jungle Cat initiated trebles for Godolphin and Appleby, as well as a double for Buick, defending his crown in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, a 6f conditions contest. The 6yo, victorious over 7f on his seasonal return in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort, showed good early speed in the centre of the course before tacking right to chase the leaders of the large nearside group after a furlong and a half as the 16 runners split into two groups, with six racing on the far side. Jungle Cat moved up steadily among his group and went second with more than 2f remaining.

He quickened strongly under Buick and took up the running from Ertijaal over a furlong from home. The Iffraaj horse forged clear and was eased near the line to beat Ertijaal by two and a quarter lengths in a new course record time. Appleby said: “Jungle Cat is a seasoned campaigner in Dubai and seems to thrive out here. We were delighted with his seasonal return in the Al Fahidi Fort and he had been showing his wellbeing at home since then. “The race worked out well; they have gone a good, hard gallop and the one thing that Jungle Cat was going to do was finish his race strongly. “William was confident that, once he was upsides Ertijaal, he was always going to win.

“We have often thought that 7f was his trip, but he has now broken the 6f track record tonight. “He will head to the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night along with Blue Point, who was beaten a head by Ertijaal in the Group 2 Meydan Sprint earlier on in the carnival. Thunder Snow kept on to finish a clear second behind North America in the 1m2f Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3. The 4yo son of Helmet, who had previously gained a neck verdict over the same horse in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 over 100m shorter, was pushed along leaving the stalls by Oisin Murphy to race in a close fifth of the 12 runners.

Having moved up to fourth with 6f to race, the Saeed bin Suroortrained colt stayed on to take second leaving the back straight. Thunder Snow tried to challenge but could make no impression from the distance on North America, who made all to score by five and a quarter lengths over the Godolphin runner in a new course record time.


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07 Aug 2018
Issue Number: Issue 647
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