A GOOD quality fixture on the Lingfield Park Polytrack on Saturday afternoon was highlighted by a pair of Listed contests, the first, the 1m2f Churchill Stakes, won in style by Dubai Warrior. Following his victory in the Fast-Track Qualifier for the Easter Classic over the same course and distance on Good Friday, 2 April, Dubai Warrior is now unbeaten in three starts over the Lingfield 1m2f, this success supplementing victories in last season’s Listed Quebec Stakes and Group 3 Winter Derby. In total, the imposing 4yo Dansili colt, homebred by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, has won six of his seven starts on all-weather surfaces. Trained by John Gosden and ridden today by Robert Havlin, Dubai Warrior was sent off the hot favourite against four rivals and proved a class apart, travelling strongly throughout before quickening clear early in the straight.
Havlin said:”Dubai Warrior has always been a big boy and, as you saw today, he is still a bit big. He is not one we bully at home, so he will come on for the run. “I only thought the pace was strong for 2f down the back and then it steadied up again. I didn’t want to give away an easy lead to anyone else so sat handy. “He was 9lb clear on the ratings today, but you still have to go out there and reproduce it. As I said, he is still a bit big today and took a blow with me turning in, which worried me for a stride or two, but then off he went before looking at the big screen as he normally does. “Dubai Warrior has only run twice on turf in France and at Sandown, beaten both times, but I don’t think we can completely write that off just yet. He doesn’t want soft ground, as he is a really good mover who floats along. We will have to pick our races carefully, but I am sure the boss has a plan.”
Successful trainer Gosden added:”Dubai Warrior enjoyed a nice lead into the race and that was a nice starting point to his winter programme. “The plan is to head to the Saudi Turf Cup at Riyadh in February, which will suit him as it’s clockwise and over 1m2f. “He would go for that rather than the Winter Derby again but he may well come back for the Listed Quebec Stakes here next month which he won last year.” In the other Fast-Track Qualifier, Ismail Mohammed’s crack all-weather sprinter Good Effort blitzed 11 rivals to take the 6f Listed Golden Rose Stakes, setting up a tilt at the All-Weather Sprint Championship on Good Friday. From an inside draw in stall three, Good Effort broke well and was never seriously challenged under an astute ride from Ray Dawson, the pair never headed. The favourite held a healthy advantage at the top of the straight and kept up the gallop to win by a length and a half from Lampang.
Godolphin runner On The Warpath was a head further back in third. This success was a fifth straight win on the all-weather for Good Effort, a run of form that includes victories in a Fast- Track Qualifier at Newcastle in January and the Listed Cleves Stakes at Lingfield in February. Apprentice Dawson, who was unable to use his 5lb claim in this race, said of the 5yo Shamardal entire:”Good Effort is such a professional and it is a privilege to be getting opportunities on a horse like this. It is everything you aim for as a jockey, getting on horses as good as him. “He is so professional; he pinged the stalls and travelled, and just does everything in his own time. With this horse, you almost just let him dictate the pace while you sit on him.
You just let him do it himself really. It is a privilege to ride a horse like this. “He will obviously come back here for Finals Day, but I was just chatting with Jose Santos, the assistant trainer, about what to do in the meantime as there are a couple of races that he could go for. Jose does an awful lot of work in Ismail Mohammed’s yard and he has done a great job with this horse.” Assistant trainer Santos added:”He was favourite for the Hever Stakes here in February, but he was lame the day before and we discovered a hairline fracture behind. We gave him plenty of time off and he won nicely today. “The plan is to have another crack at Good Friday after which his owner wants to retire him and stand him as a stallion.”