Cosmo Charlie The Star Of The Show Thursday At Meydan

Racing at Meydan on Thursday was highlighted by a 1600m rated conditions event, the GulfNews.com, where Ramzan Kadyrov’s Cosmo Charlie ran out an emphatic winner under Pat Dobbs, just as he had done in the equivalent race 12 months ago. Trained by Doug Watson, the 4-year-old gelded son of Stay Thirsty overcame a poor start to rush up from his low draw and lead from the rail from the 1200m onward. Though Connor Beasley and mount Radaini drew level at the top of the straight, the end was barely in doubt, as Dobbs soon settled the matter with a flick of the reins. Beasley’s mount weakening in the final 100m, losing second to Watson-trained Etijaah.

Victorious in the middle leg of the UAE Triple Crown, the 1900m Al Bastakiya (Listed), in 2017, Cosmo Charlie’s best 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival effort was when chasing home subsequent Godolphin Mile (G2) winner Heavy Metal in the Firebreak Stakes (Gr3) over the same 1600m. Well beaten on his seasonal debut, after suffering a rough trip over 1400m at Jebel Ali four weeks ago, he had clearly benefitted from that outing and proved too classy for his rivals. He will now head to the Listed Dubai Creek Mile over the same trip, while Etijaah will stretch back out to his customary 2000m trip in the Listed The Entisar—both on Dec. 20.

“The one draw was a big help, though he had to use up a lot of gas after that slow start,” Watson said. “I was then a bit worried he might not get home but he had that race at Jebel Ali which seems to have put him spot on. He is a very nice horse on his day and hopefully he can build on this and be competitive back at the Carnival.”

The meeting began with the first Purebred Arabian contest at Meydan this season, the 1400m Bani Yas sponsored by Gulf New (PA G2) and, despite being drawn widest of all in 14, ES Ajeeb powerfully took command from the start and held a large lead that finally began to dwindle in the final 100m. Tough 5-year-old mare Mawahib, consistent as always, closed resolutely to finish second by the slimmest of margins, ultimately passing her rival one stride too late.

This Meydan victory was by far the biggest for trainer Ibrahim Aseel. A homebred by Sheikh Abdulla bin Majid Al Qassemi, ES Ajeeb is only a 4-year-old and an exciting prospect who now boasts a record of four wins from seven career tries.

“He is a horse we have always thought could win these races,” said a beaming Aseel. “This is a massive result for everybody involved and a very special occasion.”

Hitchcott added: “From that draw, we had to use a lot of petrol early on but that 1400m is probably as far as he wants. His optimum is probably 1200m, but there are not that many options for him at that trip. He is still a big baby and you would like to think (is still) improving. He is probably capable of better, but as I said, finding races over shorter trips on dirt for him is not easy.”

The Friday, a 1200m handicap, was turned into a procession by Lavaspin, who took the lead from barrier six (of eight) under Richard Mullen and was never headed. Always travelling well, the 4-year-old Hard Spun gelding scooted clear early in the straight to win emphatically and complete a course and distance double, having won a similar handicap two weeks ago for his owner Mohd Khaleel Ahmed.

Winning trainer, Satish Seemar, enthused: “This horse is much improved this season and is another big success from the Godolphin sales, which have been brilliant for attracting new owners. He was not that expensive and now we have realised he is a sprinter, we can campaign him accordingly. We tried him over 1400m last season at Jebel Ali when he did not stay, but that is two from two this season and we hope he is a Carnival horse.”

Seemar and Mullen later doubled up when, in virtually identical fashion to Lavaspin, Bochart was soon in front on the rail in the Reach by Gulf News, a 1400m handicap, and the pair ran on far too strongly for 13 toiling rivals. Owned by Al Bait Mutawahed Team, the 5-year-old Dubawi gelding has now won four times, including twice at Meydan.

Ten juveniles contested the Inside Out, a 1400m maiden restricted to fillies and trainer Sandeep Jadhav provided first and second. Royston Ffrench partnered Al Shamkhah, who was nearer last than first at halfway. When stable companion and fellow debutante Foggy Flight hit the front under Xavier Ziani 250m out, she was still well in arrears, but closed strongly with a sizeable stride to claim a victory at first asking. The daughter of Dialed In provided owner Majed Ali Almarzooqui a fourth UAE success with just his 15th runner.

“She is a lovely big filly who has basically learned what was required throughout the race,” Ffrench said. “She has plenty of scope and, with time, will hopefully show she has a touch of class.”

The Baby & Child Trophy, a 1200m maiden, was won by local debutant Kawasir, who had proven consistent, if not victorious in his previous six starts; never finishing off the board for trainer Roger Varian. Making his first start for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, the newly gelded charge was never far off the speed under Dane O’Neill, who was riding for his main employer, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Ultimately, he hit the front with about 250m out, but had to work to repel Beachcomber Bay, who led for the majority of the contest and fought back bravely when headed.

O’Neill said: “I was happy throughout the race, but he was perhaps getting tired close home after a break and I think he will be better over an extra 200m. At least we now know he handles the surface.”

An enthralling card concluded with Wheels, a handicap over the same 2000m course and distance as the world’s most valuable horse race, the $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline. A long way out, the race appeared to be a possible breakout performance by Sandeep Jadhav-trained Gundogdu, but a heady rail-skimming ride by Fernando Jara on Quartier Francais provided the consistent Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained son of Street Cry a powerful two-length victory. Winning his third race from nine career starts, the longwinded Mohd Khalifa Al Basti-owned charge simply out-staying his tiring rivals and proved a horse to watch as he enters his 5-year-old season in 2019.

“He’s a nice horse who always tries,” Jara said. “He wasn’t 100% fit last time (on Nov. 1 at Meydan over the same 2000m), but he was ready and ran his race today.”