Thursday’s sixth Meydan meeting of the 2021 Dubai World Cup Carnival officially featured the Gr.3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy sponsored by Gulf News.
Gr.3 $195,000 Nad Al Sheba Trophy (2810m T)
Godolphin supplied half of the eight runners and promptly delivered the first four home, Frankie Dettori and Volcanic Sky leading home the quartet for Saeed bin Suroor. Fully 800m out, the Italian had a cheeky look, to see how those behind him were travelling, before grasping the initiative about 100m later, sweeping past early leader Corsen before the field swung into the long home straight.
That proved a decisive move, the pair opening up sufficient daylight between themselves and their rivals to always look in control. Stable companion Global Heat, under Andrea Atzeni, tried gallantly in the final 100m, closing to within a short-head with Bin Suroor’s third runner, Brilliant Light, in third. Charlie Appleby’s Ispolini, winner of the race in 2019, was fourth. Like all five Thoroughbred races on the card, contested on the turf, the 2810m feature was inaugurated in 2010 and Godolphin trainers have now won this staying prize on ten occasions, Bin Suroor saddling half of them.
Homebred, the 6-year-old Street Cry gelding was registering a fourth career success and was making it third time lucky at his first carnival, going one better than his previous start, over the same 2810m, when runner-up to stable companion Dubai Future, himself ridden by Dettori on that occasion, in the Listed Meydan Cup Handicap.
Bin Suroor said: “He has improved with each race this year and Frankie was in exactly the right position and has given him a great ride.
“Hopefully this win will be enough to earn an invitation to the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night.”
Gr.3 $130,000 Dubai Millennium Stakes (2000m T)
Over 2000m, the main support race, the Gr.3 Dubai Millennium Stakes Sponsored By gulfnews.com, was also all about Godolphin, although ‘only’ a 1-2 on this occasion with William Buick and Star Safari, a third winner on the card for Charlie Appleby, denying Dettori and Bin Suroor a double with Bedouin’s Story. Bin Suroor also saddled the fourth, Dream Castle, the Godolphin trip separated by Halimi in third.
Settled in fifth by Buick, with Dettori in last on the eventual runner-up who had somewhat missed the break, Star Safari loomed up to challenge the principals entering the home straight. Once in front, with about 300m remaining, they always appeared likely to hold the too late challenge of Bedouin’s Story, the 5-year-old gelded son of Sea The Stars stopping the clock in a lot slower time than the track record he set himself winning a handicap exactly a year ago under Mickael Barzalona, his only start of 2020. Third behind his stable companions Ya Hayati and Bright Melody, also a winner on this card, in the Listed Zabeel Turf Handicap on his seasonal return, he then won a 2400m turf handicap a fortnight ago.
Listed $88,000 Meydan Classic (1600m T)
For 3YO over 1600m, the Listed Meydan Classic sponsored by agnc3 was predictably won by Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, but stable jockey William Buick had to settle for second aboard hot favourite Master Of The Seas who never looked likely to peg back stablemate Naval Crown. Both are homebred Dubawi colts.
Given a masterful ride from the front by Mickael Barzalona, Naval Crown set a decent tempo, quickened clear halfway up the straight and never looked in any real peril, Barzalona affording himself a long look at the big screen entering the final 200m. He would have enjoyed what he saw because Buick and Master Of The Seas were well behind and only making ground slowly, eventually crossing the line almost two lengths in arrears. Barzalona’s mount won the prestigious 1400m Convivial Maiden at York, the most valuable UK race of its type, on his third start and was doubling his career tally here. He did have the benefit of race fitness having finished third on his dirt debut in the 1600m Gr.3 UAE 2000 Guineas three weeks ago, whereas Master Of The Seas was having his first start since September when fourth in the 1400m Gr.1 National Stakes on The Curragh, his first defeat on his third racecourse appearance. He had won the Gr.2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, also over 1400m, prior to that.