By Duane Fonseca
Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum owned Emaraaty Ana held off a late charge from Group 1 Sprint Cup Stakes favourite Starman to clinch a first ever top-tier success at Haydock Saturday.
In holding on by a short head, the 5yo Shamardal gelding avenged his defeat at the hands of the Ed Walker schooled Starman, who was favourite to win here after his Group 1 Darley July Cup Stakes victory at Newmarket.
And Starman did not give up until the finish in the hands of Tom Marquand, who rode him to victory in the affair at Newmarket and thereafter in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at ParisLongchamp last month, a race in which he finished a battling third.
But at Haydock Saturday it was Kevin Ryan’s Emaraaty Ana, who stole the show racing freely in the hands of Andrea Atzeni, who kept him just off the pace and unleashed him with 400m left to race in the 1200m contest. Emaraaty Ana was at the forefront with 200m left, with Marquand and Starman desperately trying to reel the frontrunners in.
However, the finish came at the right time with Emaraaty Ana and Atzeni holding on by a short head to clinch a famous victory for the silks of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid. Andrew Balding’s Chil Chil with David Probert up was three fourths of a length behind in third.
It was the biggest victory of Emaraaty Ana’s career and his fifth success overall.
Atzeni said: “Everyone has always kept faith in him, starting with Kevin Ryan. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to win another Group 1, it’s been a couple of years.
“Things had gone a bit quiet but it's all about the horses and I had a good one underneath me. It's great for the boss Sheikh Mohammed Obaid. What a result.”
Kevin Ryan confirmed he would look to aim Emaraaty Ana at the Breeders’ Cup next.
“We dropped him in, rode him patiently and the horse has come alive for doing that. I’ve had huge faith in the horse and I’m delighted that he’s done it,” Ryan said.
"He’s as good a horse as I’ve trained, his work in the morning is brilliant and he wants to please you. All my team and staff have done a great job so I’m delighted.”