LAST THURSDAY’S third meeting of the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan was highlighted by the Group 2 Cape Verdi, a 1600m turf feature for fillies and mares, won in thrilling fashion by Magic Lily, produced to lead right on the line by James Doyle for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby, a third win in the race for both trainer and jockey. For Godolphin it was a fifth consecutive victory in the contest and eighth since 2011 but it looked unlikely when Pierre- Charles Boudot committed for home early in the straight aboard French raider Nisreen, seemingly catching Doyle’s mount flatfooted. However, the 5yo New Approach mare, whose dam, Dancing Rain, won the Epsom Oaks in 2011, started to pick up stylishly in the final 300m and put her head in front when it mattered, breaking the track record in the process.
Victorious on her juvenile debut, she was then third in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile before ruled out of her 3yo campaign after a setback and did not actually return to a racecourse until October last year when second in Listed company in France. She was then sixth on her all-weather debut in a Listed contest at Lingfield and was having just her fifth career start here. Doyle, completing a double, said: “To be honest I did not think we had won so was delighted when the result was announced. “I know my filly stays well so was keen to be positive and planned to lead but could not get to the front so had to take my time. She was a bit one paced for a moment but then ran on strongly and the extra 200m in the Balanchine will really suit her. “She is a filly we have always liked with a lovely pedigree and plenty of ability so hopefully can build on this as she has very few miles on the clock.”
The opening 1200m turf handicap attracted the maximum field allowed of 16 and the runners soon split into two groups of eight; at halfway it was apparent those drawn high and racing nearest the standside rail were well on top. Pocket Dynamo and Geological led that nearside group a merry dance until with about 450m remaining James Doyle produced Roulston Scar to challenge, the pair quickening clear and soon in total control, chased home by Dream Today and Moment Of Silence with the fourth, Summerghand, faring best of the group on the far side. A 4yo gelded son of Lope De Vega, he was making his local debut and first start for trainer Simon Crisford and owner Abdullah Menahi having been purchased out of Kevin Ryan’s yard for 110,000gns at Tattersalls in October having won three of his ten starts in Britain.
Assistant trainer, Edward Crisford said: “He is a nice new horse for us and has been straightforward to deal with and train. “I would imagine we will aim at another 1200m turf handicap and hopefully we can have some more fun with this horse.” A 1200m dirt handicap was contested at a furious gallop with at least four of the 11 runners wanting to lead but it was Bochart and Richie Mullen, well berthed in stall four, who was soon in front and once kicked clear early in the straight, they were never going to be caught. One of four in the field saddled by Satish Seemar, stable jockey Mullen picked the right one, posting a comfortable success aboard the 7yo gelded son of Dubawi having his fourth start of the campaign but first since the beginning of December when third, over this 1200m course and distance, in the Listed The Garhoud Sprint.
A maiden when sold by Godolphin, he is now owned by Al Bait Mutawahed Team, making his local debut in December 2016 and now has six victories to his name, a brace at Jebel Ali and four at Meydan. “He is such a tough, honest horse and it has been well documented we nearly lost him after he injured himself in the horsebox a couple of years ago,” Mullen said. “His great attitude makes my life a lot easier and he seems to be improving with age. He is now a carnival winner which is a great result for everyone concerned.” Upgraded this year to Listed status, the Zabeel Turf, a 2000m turf handicap and main support race was expected to be dominated by Godolphin, responsible for six of the 11 runners but they were brushed aside by Certain Lad, trained by Mick Channon and ridden by Ben Curtis, a jockey on fire in Britain at the moment and riding in the UAE for the first time this season.
For the Aga Khan, Mick Halford and Ireland, Simsir was a staying on second under Tadhg O’Shea with Desert Fire in third the best of the Godolphin sextet. Fractious in the preliminaries and sent to post early as a result, the 4yo Clodovil gelding was settled well off the pace by Curtis before making stealthy progress throughout the early part of the straight, then quickening clear passing the 200m pole. Simsir was gaining at the line but never looked like denying Curtis his 21st winner in the past 14 days with Certain Lad equalling the track record in the process. It was a sixth career victory for Curtis’ mount and he was posting consecutive wins having landed a good handicap at the big Ayr September meeting on his previous start.
Curtis said: “That has certainly made the trip worthwhile! I have had an amazing year so far and long may it continue tomorrow when I am in action at Newcastle.” Winning owner Chris Hirst added: “We thought he might need that run so we are delighted and a big thank you to Ben for coming over to ride him.” The 1600m dirt handicap was another to produce an exciting finish with Pat Dobbs and Midnight Sands leading close home to provide Doug Watson a 600th career winner, denying British challenger Ambassadorial who had appeared to have opened up a telling advantage when committed for home by John Egan leaving the home turn. A 4yo Speightstown colt owned by The Cool Silk Partnership, he was winning for the third time this season and fourth time in a row having lost his maiden tag in March.
That was over 1200m with both previous wins this season over 1400m and this was his first attempt at 1600m. Watson said: “Credit to the owners because they let me put him away after he won his maiden with this season in mind and they have been rewarded. “The runner-up looked to have opened up a decent lead and, half a furlong out, I was not sure we would get there but this horse has a great attitude and battles hard. “We will have to see what the handicapper does now before we make plans but he is a nice horse and Pat gets on well with him.” The concluding 1600m turf handicap produced another close finish with class prevailing and Suedois able to concede weight to his 15 rivals to provide jockey Daniel Tudhope a first local winner and a third for trainer David O’Meara, the pair just holding off the late challenge of Epic Hero, denying Crisford a double on the card.
A 9yo gelded son of Le Havre, owned by George Turner & Clipper Logistics, it was a tenth career victory for the horse whose greatest achievement to date was his success in the 2017 Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland. Tudhope said: “That was a very good effort under such a big weight but he is such an honest horse you always know he will try his best and luckily it was good enough this evening.”