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22 Mar 2018
Issue Number: Issue 641
Seemar can only hope for another upward performance from North America
Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
Nass’ trial and error style seems to be working wonders for him
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Four track records and a Godolphin treble on Super Saturday


The final fixture of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, Super Saturday, the second biggest meeting of the UAE season, lived up to its billing with both Group One features producing memorable, albeit contrasting, winning efforts. Introduced in 2003 as a dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup card three weeks later, all seven races are mirror images of a race to be contested on that ultra valuable occasion when $30 million will be distributed in prize money. Three horses have won the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3, over 2000m on dirt before following up in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and North America will try and emulate them after a smooth success, making all under Richard Mullen, riding for Ramzan Kadyrov and Satish Seemar.

Drawn six in a field of 12, Mullen’s mount was well away and ridden positively to get to the lead and, just as importantly, across to the rail. Thunder Snow, last year’s UAE 2000 Guineas and UAE Derby winner, was among those tracking him and, from the home turn, it was clearly between the pair. Four weeks earlier it had been Godolphin’s Thunder Snow who gained the verdict over North America in the 1900m Al Maktoum Challenge R2. Previously, Seemar’s horse was third, when Thunder Snow was second, in Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on the first night of the carnival. However, this was to be North America’s big night with a jubilant Mullen able to punch the air crossing the line, probably not aware they had broken the track record in the process.

A delighted jockey, completing a double for himself and Seemar on the star studded card, said: “Last time, when second to Thunder Snow, was probably a career best at the time and he has built on that again tonight. “I just wanted to get him into a rhythm; not necessarily to lead but we broke so well I was able to get to the front and he was then always happy. “I am just very lucky to be part of a big team with Satish at Zabeel Stables. Everyone works so hard and it is great on occasions like this for everyone. “Obviously the Dubai World Cup is going to be a stronger race but he deserves his chance.” The main turf race, the 1800m Group 1 Jebel Hatta, was a great spectacle with the lead seeming to change hands at least six times in the final 400m.

The telling challenge, though, came from Godolphin’s Blair House who pounced inside the final 175m under James Doyle, riding for Charlie Appleby. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, for the same owners, Benbatl was a close second with Janoobi, representing South African Mike de Kock, a head behind him in third for Sheikh Hamdan. Runner-up on his first two carnival outings this year, Blair House had, most recently, ridden by Doyle, landed a handicap over this course and distance three weeks earlier. The Group 1 Dubai Turf is the equivalent race on the big day and Appleby, who won the 2016 Jebel Hatta with Tryster, said: “We knew this horse arrived here in good form and it looked a wide open race, as it transpired to be.

I am sure we will have to come back with him in three weeks in what will be a stronger race but he owes us nothing now.” Doyle added: “We won a bit too easily last time so we had to step him up in class as there was no handicap opportunity for him; it has actually worked out very well in the end because he is a Group One winner now!” Restricted to 3yos and over 1900m on dirt, the middle leg of the UAE Triple Crown, the Listed Al Bastakiya was the first race on the card and was turned into a procession by Yulong Warrior. Trained by Seemar and drawn one, he was soon in front under Mullen with a host of his 12 rivals trying to secure a prominent position in behind him. Most of the field were in trouble on the home turn and once Mullen kicked for home, early in the straight, they had the race in safe keeping. Mullen said: “He is a horse we have always really liked and thought would continue improving as he matures.

He won his maiden well last time, over 1600m but, obviously, this was a stronger race and he has coped with the increase in both class and distance. “He has surprised me just how much he had improved from last time but the nice, low draw has helped him in both his wins. “There should still be more to come from him but the UAE Derby will be a stronger race again. Fingers crossed we can get a nice draw in that as well!” The Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal, over the same 1200m dirt course and distance as the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen was won in 2016 by Muarrab and in 2015 by Reynaldothewizard who both followed up three weeks later. In 2012, Krypton Factor completed the same double for Fawzi Nass, who looks to have serious claims of repeating the trick with Jordan Sport who made an ultra impressive dirt debut under Adrie de Vries. Like a bullet from the stalls, they were able to get across to the rail, tracked by Yalta who tried to challenge for the lead at halfway.

However, De Vries was just allowing his mount a breather and set sail for home leaving the home turn. They were never going to be caught with Yalta running on gamely to hold on for second. In behind, Krypton Factor was denied third, in the dying strides, by Wild Dude. They lowered the track record in the process and De Vries said: “Fawzi asked me to work him on the dirt on Monday to see how he handled it and he loved it so we came to this race, not the turf option. “We had a good draw and he was very quickly out of the gates so I was able to get across to that rail. “Once I gave him a breather on the turn and committed him for home he put the race to bed in a few strides. “Hopefully we can get a good draw on the big night because it really does help. That was impressive today and we can enjoy this win then worry about the race in three weeks.”

A 1200m turf track record was then established by Godolphin’s Jungle Cat, winning the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, a conditions event, just as he had done 12 months ago when the race was added to the card after the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint was increased 200m in distance from 1000m. Confidently ridden by William Buick for Charlie Appleby, the pair cruised into contention at halfway, led 300m out and powered home. It was a second 2018 Meydan victory for the horse, from as many starts, having won the 1400m Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort at the beginning of February. Buick said: “He has won that, which looked a strong race, really well but we knew he was in good order; the form of his Al Fahidi Fort victory, over 1400m, was advertised by the second, Janoobi, and he has loved this fast gallop to aim at this evening. “I was soon in a good rhythm and knew he would be staying on strongly.

In the end, he has won pretty comfortably. “The soft ground did not suit him in the Al Quoz Sprint last year so, hopefully, we get quick ground this time, because I think he is better than ever.” There was a dramatic conclusion to the Group 3 Burj Nahaar, over 1600m on dirt, with last year’s winner, Heavy Metal, headed close home and only finishing fourth. That appeared most unlikely when, 550m from home, he was sent to the front by Mickael Barzalona, sweeping past Kimbear who had led from early on under Pat Dobbs. Heavy Metal went a length clear but Dobbs, riding for Doug Watson and sporting the colours of Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, managed to get a last effort from his horse, leading again close home.

Secret Ambition stayed on for second, just in front of Musawaat who caught the weakening Heavy Metal for third. Dobbs said: “I thought I was in trouble for a moment but I could see Heavy Metal was getting tired and my fellow has run on gamely. “We went very quick early on so credit to my horse for responding again in the straight when I asked him.” The concluding Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold, over 2410m on turf, was also dominated by Godolphin with the Appleby stablemates and old adversaries, Frontiersman and Hawkbill, fighting out the finish just as they had in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket in July.

On that occasion Hawkbill and James Doyle beat Frontiersman whereas, this time, the outcome was the same but the jockeys reversed. Winner of the 2000m Group 1 Eclipse at Sandown in July 2016, Hawkbill also established a new track record in a race, Saeed bin Suroor saddled the third, Gold Star, to complete a Godolphin 1-2-3. Buick said: “It was a good race and both horses really fought well. This should put Hawkbill spot on for the Sheema Classic in three weeks. “More went right than wrong and I had a troubled trip in the early part but I think he is improving and coped well with it in the end.” For Godolphin it was Dubai World Cup Carnival 2018 winner number 31 of which Appleby saddled 17, Bin Suroor 14.

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