By Duane Fonseca
Godolphin made the perfect start to Arc weekend with trainers Charlie Appleby and Saeed bin Suroor both delivering a win each in the first two Thoroughbred events on the card.
A little over an hour after Appleby’s Manobo led home a Godolphin 1-2 in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Chaudenay for 3yos, Bin Suroor’s Real World delivered the goods by holding off a late charge from favourite The Revenant in the Group 2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein.
Unbeaten in three previous career starts and testing Group company for the first time, Appleby’s Manobo, a gelded son of Sea Of Stars, showed plenty of resolve in the 3000m under James Doyle, who had him settled midfield and let him loose in the straight.
Once asked to go, Manobo kicked clear strongly and was well away with teammate Kemari, also trained by Appleby, being driven hard in the final 200m by Frankie Dettori only to cut the deficit to three fourths of a length. Andre Fabre’s Tides Of War was a neck behind in third under Hugo Besnier.
Appleby, who saddles both Adayar and Hurricane Lane in Sunday’s feature, said: “I’m pleased with the way the race went.
“He (Manobo) was a little bit fresh and awkward for the first couple of furlongs, but James said once they turned out of the back he was happy he’d got into a nice rhythm.
“He said he actually surprised him with his acceleration. My instructions were to get into him early as he’s a big unit and needs to get rolling, but James said he gave him a squeeze and before he knew it he was hitting the front. We hoped he could work into a profile where we had a Cup horse in time, and I think he’s starting to make ground towards that.”
Speaking of the wet Longchamp track and the rainy forecast over the weekend, winning rider Doyle added: “Very testing. It’s certainly genuine soft ground that takes a bit of getting.”
Dettori was on target an hour later with Saeed bin Suroor’s Real World, who won the 1600m Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein to stretch his unbeaten run to four. It was perhaps a best career performance from the 4yo Dark Angel entire, who was ridden just off the pace by Dettori, before he surged forward to take over from Peter Schiergen’s German raider Novemba rather easily.
Francois-Henry Graffard’s defending champion The Revenant, who also won the subsequent Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot, changed gears late under Olivier Peslier, but his late burst was only good enough for second, a short head behind Real World. Novemba was a further length and a half back in third with Bauyrzhan Murzabayev up.
Winning conditioner Bin Suroor said: “This horse has improved a lot. He won at Royal Ascot, then a Listed race at Newbury and then a Group Three at York and then we brought him here.
“There was a question mark about the soft ground. He had never run on this ground, but we gave him a chance and thankfully he won. Physically he looks good – he is not there yet, but he is still improving.
“I think he can run between a mile and a mile and a quarter. We will speak to Sheikh Mohammed about a plan, but more than likely will take him back to Dubai.”
In between the two Godolphin wins, Yas Horse Racing Management enjoyed a 1-2 in the 2000m PA Group 1 Qatar Arabian Derby with Teema, ridden by Ioritz Mendizabal, leading home Elaf, the ride of Anthony Crastus. Both horses are trained by Xavier Thomas Demeaulte, while third in was Olivier Trigodet’s Christophe Soumillon driven Petite Leia.
The Group 1 Qatar Prix du Cadran was clinched by Alan King’s Trueshan who justified his top billing to win the 4000m contest on very soft ground with a late charge. It was a second win on the card for jockey Doyle, who had begun proceedings with victory on the back of Manobo.
John and Thady Gosden trained Stradivarius finished four and a half lengths behind in second under Dettori, with Bubble Smart trained by Mikel Delzangles and ridden by Gerald Mosse, a further length back in third.
The other feature event on the card, the 2800m Group 1 Qatar Prix de Royallieu saw Dettori collect a second victory with Loving Dream schooled by the Gosdens. Believe In Love trained by Roger Varian and ridden by Andrea Atzeni was second with Alain de Royer-Dupre’s Valia third in the hands of Soumillon.