By Duane Fonseca
Trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri swept away both features on Thursday night’s Meydan card with Military Law and Ibn Malik landing the Entisar and Garhoud Sprint respectively under Antonio Fresu and Dane O’Neill.
Dubai World Cup runner up in 2019, Gronkowski may have only just been beaten by Thunder Snow into second in the aforesaid feature event on Dubai World Cup day in March, but on what was his opening run of the season at Meydan, the Salem bin Ghadayer schooled 4yo Lonhro colt was well and truly relegated to third.
The Listed 2000m The Entisar was one of two features on the night at Meydan and Gronkowski appeared solid as he took his place in the stalls under Royston Ffrench.
Saltarin Dubai and Talento Puma exchanged the lead between themselves as favourite Gronkowski settled nicely in mid-division. Ffrench worked Gronkowski with 600m left and he moved forward nicely but didn’t appear to have much in the tank as Saltarin Dubai won their battle in the home stretch only for Military Law, with Fresu aboard, to swoop to the front down the outside and win by three lengths. Gronkowski took third a further length behind Saltarin Dubai.
Ibn Malik landed the second feature of the night, the Listed 1200m Garhoud Sprint making smooth progress under O’Neill and running clear 300m out to win by a massive four and three fourths of a length from Shadwell bannermate Waady with Bochart a further five and three fourths behind in third.
Rashed Bouresly and David Liska combined to land the opening race on the card a 1600m maiden with Celtic Prince. Shaken up by Liska in the home stretch after having run strongly in mid-division, Celtic Prince made up ground quickly along the outside to pull away and win from Majestic Thunder to win by a neck in the final strides. A head behind in third was California Jumbo.
The 1600m Conditions event was won in style by Satish Seemar’s Commanding, who lived up to his name and took a five length victory under Richard Mullen. Commanding, a 2yo Camacho colt, led soon after the start and kicked clear 600m out to open up a wide lead that was cut short to five lengths at the finish by bannermate and Al Mheiri boarder Dark Of Night, who closed in towards the finish under Szczepan Mazur after Mullen started to ease Commanding off. A neck behind in third place, a neck behind, was Sanad Libya.
Red Stables boss Doug Watson claimed the 2000m handicap that followed up with the ever consistent Grand Argentier leaping clear of Firnas 300m out and holding on gamely to win by two and a half lengths under Pat Dobbs. In third place, a further length and a quarter in arrears, was Mark Of Approval.
Watson made it a quick double as Sam Hitchcott and Arch Gold only just managed to hold on ahead of Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s Quartier Francais, who gave chase under Fernando Jara only to be adjudged a neck behind at the finish. Ahmad bin Harmash’s Sa’Ada was four lengths adrift in third under Connor Beasley.
Following the two features was the final race on the card, a 1400m handicap, which saw Watson complete his hat-trick for the night courtesy Midnight Sands.
It was a third straight victory for the 3yo Speightstown colt who hung on to win and completed a double for jockey Dobbs’ in the process. Satish Seemar’s second placed Gaudi was a neck behind under Jose Santiago, with Gervais claiming third a further two lengths in arrears.