By Duane Fonseca
Satish Seemar and Mickael Barzalona landed the feature Group 3 1200m Dubawi Stakes with Gladiator King on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Thursday night, with Doug Watson and Saeed bin Suroor also pitching in to make news as they signed off with doubles.
Making his UAE debut in the colours of new owner Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, the 4yo son of Curlin, was a previous Grade Three winner when taking the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March. And he turned in another solid performance on when making his UAE bow in the hands of Barzalona, who took him to the front with 300m left and ensured he held on rather comfortably to take victory by a neck from Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Ibn Malik with Watson’s Drafted a further length and a half back in third.
Back to back Dubai World Cup winning pair in 2018 and 2019, Bin Suroor and Christophe Soumillon got the Carnival underway by claiming the 1000 Guineas Trial with Final Song, who delivered the goods with her terrific late acceleration as she headed Salem bin Ghadayer’s Down On Da Bayou, the ride of Mickael Barzalona, 100m from the finish to win by a length and three quarters, with Watson’s Rio Angie taking third a further length in arrears under Pat Dobbs.
Watson would turn out to be the first local trainer to win on this year’s Carnival programme, his gamble to give Almanaara his first turf run in the UAE paying off in spectacular fashion in the 1000m sprint handicap where he took over the running from leader Caspian Prince with 300m left and ran on to win by a length and three fourths under Dane O’Neill. In third place, a further half length behind, was Blueberry.
Watson completed his double in the 1900m dirt handicap that followed with EERC owned Grand Argentier, who stuck his head in front on the line. Ridden by a hard pushing Brett Doyle, the 8yo gelding turned in a grand performance when nicking the race with what was easily the final stride. Satish Seemar’s Above Normal was adjudged second with Montsarrat and Saltarin Dubai locked in a dead heat just behind.
Bin Suroor followed Watson adding to his tally after Pat Cosgrave took advantage of the rail to help Major Partnership sneak in a length and a half ahead of Al Mheiri’s Zainhom with David O’Meara’s British raider Suedois a head behind in third.
Richard Mullen won the final race on the card a 2410m turf handicap with David Simcock’s Universal Order, who left it for late and leapt to the front nonchalantly to win by a length and a quarter from William Haggas’ Pablo Escobarr, the ride of Tom Marquand. In third place, a length and three quarters behind was Bin Suroor’s Gifts Of Gold with Cosgrave in the saddle.