Author: Derek Thompson

BEN CASE, who spent his formative years in Dubai, celebrated his biggest success as a trainer here in the UK when his Cobblers Dream won the £100,000 Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton Park on Saturday. Ben was assistant trainer to Erwan Charpy for five years in Dubai in the 1990s and his future wife Sarah was one of the international vets at the Emirates Racing Authority.

Love blossomed, as they say, and they were married when they returned to the UK and, together, they now run a successful stable in a beautiful part of Oxfordshire. Cobblers Dream, who was given a great ride by Jack Quinlan in the colours of Lady Jane Grosvenor, was winning for the fourth time in six starts and was a comfortable winner of this ultra competitive race.

Nicky Henderson has started 2022 in the best possible way and the multiple Champion National Hunt trainer pulled off a fantastic four timer at Kempton Park. And Nicky will be hoping to keep up the good work at Ascot on Saturday when he saddles the brilliant Shishkin, who has won ten of his 11 races, in the Clarence House Chase.

There were plenty of big-priced winners on the opening day of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan: 10/1, 20/1 and the biggest price of all was 28/1 for Golden Goal who ‘scored’ in the big race, the Maktoum Challenge. On Dubai World Cup night last year he had finished second to Secret Ambition in the Godolphin Mile but on Friday he gained his revenge, beating his old rival for trainer Doug Watson and jockey Sam Hitchcott.

Watson needs no introduction of course as he is the multiple Champion Trainer but what about Sam Hitchcott who deserves plenty of credit? He is one of the hardest working riders I know and, although he might not have the stature of the likes of Dettori and Soumillon, he is a real grafter and it was great to see him get a big winner.

Xavier Ziani is another rider who sometimes goes under the radar but this likeable Frenchman took the riding honours at Jebel Ali with a double on Attribution and Hyde Park, both trained by Salem bin Ghadayer. Ziani might not be the most stylish jockey in the world but he gets results and at Jebel Ali he has few peers!

The 30th anniversary celebrations got under way at Jebel Ali last week and I’m looking forward to hosting at the track next week when there will be plenty of ‘vroom vroom’!