Mendip nails first Round of Al Maktoum Challenge

The first Dubai International Carnival meeting, sponsored by Longines, saw the Group Three Thoroughbred Al Maktoum Challenge Round I won in scintillating fashion by Mendip.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the winner was partnered by Frankie Dettori in the 1600m All-Weather feature and the pair always looked likely to prevail. Dettori was delighted: "That was a really nice effort in a good contest; he travelled so strongly and quickened very well. We will bring him back for Round II."

He was completing a double for the trainer who had earlier saddled Wajir to win the 2435m Turf Prima Luna in the hands of Ted Durcan who said: "That was impressive and the fast gallop really suited him. He quickened nicely and is open to improvement."

Mahmood Al Zarooni combined with Ryan Moore to win the 2200m Evidenza with Rock N Roll Ransom and the trainer was pleased: "I am so grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for this chance and it is a great start to the Dubai International Racing Carnival."

Jockey Moore doubled up in the last, the 1800m Master Collection, on the Roger Teale-trained Steele Tango. It was a first UK-trained winner of the 2011 Carnival and Teale was delighted: "That is brilliant for a small yard such as ours to win on this truly international stage. We were very hopeful as he has been in such good form and he has been a real flag bearer for us."

The 1600m Purebred Arabian Al Maktoum Challenge Round I is afforded Group One status and No Risk Al Maury repeated his victory of 12 months earlier for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Trained by Gill Duffield, he was ridden by Richard Hills and Duffield said: "We were very pleased with him coming into the race and he has done it very nicely. Dubai World Cup night is his main target again."
Hills added: "He really travelled strongly and that was probably more impressive than last year."

The first Thoroughbred race was the 1400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial and Reem made all under Pay Cosgrave to give trainer Mike De Kock a 1-2 with stable companion Mahbooba chasing her home. De Kock said: "Pat has given her a great ride and the second has run a really nice race also."

De Kock was also in double form and Our Giant won the 1200m Conquest under Christophe Soumillon. The pair came from well off the pace and De Kock was delighted: "We had problems with him last season and it is great to see him bounce back."

Ireland joined UK on the winner's board with David Marnane saddling Dandy Boy to win the 1600m Dolce Vita under Colm O'Donohue who said: "That was a very good win and he quickened nicely. Hopefully there is more to come."

The winner is owned by Malih Al Basti and Marnane was winning with his first UAE runner but on an old stamping ground as he used to work at Red Stables for Kiaran McLaughlin and Doug Watson. He said: "It is a dream come true to win first time. He will be back for the Firebreak Stakes."