11 February 2021

#DWCCarnival Review: Bahraini Nass Takes Meydan Carnival Feature, Card Otherwise Dominated By Trebles For Godolphin, Appleby And Buick

Thursday evening’s fourth meeting of the 2021 Dubai World Cup Carnival was highlighted by the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 sponsored by Emirates Airlines and Bahraini Fawzi Nass saddled the winner, Salute The Soldier, under a majestic ride from Adrie de Vries.

Group 2 $293,000 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (1900m D)

Capezzano and Mickael Barzalona set out to try and make every post a winning one, but with De Vries never too far away before closing to within hailing distance leaving the back straight.

A duel developed throughout the first part of the straight before Capezzano faltered, leaving Salute The Soldier with a clear advantage and one he was never likely to relinquish with his Dutch jockey sporting the red silks of Victorious. Barzalona’s mount was passed by eventual runner-up Thegreatcollection and was then denied third, in the final strides, by Ajuste Fiscal. That pair ran on from the back, but never looked likely to deny De Vries. A 6-year-old gelded son of Sepoy, Nass’ charge was registering a third carnival success after a pair last year, in a 1600m turf handicap and then, over the same trip but on dirt, Super Saturday’s Group 3 Burj Nahaar.

De Vries said: “Things had not gone to plan in two runs so far this season so we decided to step him up in trip and it has worked perfectly.

“We went a good early pace but I was keen to pressure Mickael quite early and then my horse really picked up well. Perhaps we can look at the 2000m and Dubai World Cup.”

First contested in 1994, the 1900m feature, the only Thoroughbred dirt race on the card, has been won twice by subsequent Dubai World Cup winners, Moon Ballad in 2003 and Thunder Snow in 2018.

Group 2 $163,000 Al Rashidiya (1800m T)

Over 1800m, the turf highlight was the Group 2 Al Rashidiya sponsored by emirates.com and only seven went post with, as it transpired, very few able to get involved.

Mickael Barzalona was allowed a relatively easy lead aboard Court House, tracked by Cap Francais with William Buick and Zakouski settled in third, taking the shortest route, sticking to the rail. Barzalona kicked at the top of the straight, Cap Francais could not respond and started to drop away, briefly leaving Buick with nowhere to go. However, once he had racing room, Zakouski always looked likely to gather in Court House, which he did just inside the final 200m. In doing so, he completed trebles for Buick, Charlie Appleby and Godolphin.

A homebred 5-year-old gelded son of Zakouski, he was making it five wins from just eight starts and is now thrice a carnival winner after victories last year in a 1600m turf handicap and the Group 2 Zabeel Mile over the same course and distance.

Buick said: “We were pretty confident coming here and, from our draw in one, I was delighted to track Mickael who carried us into the race.

“When I asked him he has responded really nicely and that was a very good performance. We would like to think he is still improving and will perhaps now look at Super Saturday and the Group 1 Jebel Hatta.”

Group 2 $36,000 Mazrat Al Ruwayah (PA 1600m D)

The curtain raiser and only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the 1600m Group Mazrat Al Ruwayah sponsored by Arabian Adventures, attracted a fascinating field of 11, but, once Tadhg O’Shea sent RB Money To Burn to the front entering the home straight, there was only going to be one winner.

Saddled by Eric Lemartinel for Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan Al Nahyan, the 6-year-old mare was bouncing back to winning ways, recording her first success since early January last year when, over 1600m dirt course and distance, landing the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1. She has now won four of her six starts on dirt, with a pair of turf victories, from five runs, giving her an impressive CV. On a mount renowned as a trailblazer, O’Shea was happy to bide his time, settling the mare behind RB Kinetic, before setting sail for home about 600m out, settling the race in a few strides.

From a long way back, Spaghetti and RB Torch ran on well to claim second and third.

Lemartinel said: “She has again shown just what she can do with another excellent effort. We decided to let her travel at a speed she was happy at and to position herself in the race accordingly.

“We have to freshen her up now with the Kahayla Classic in mind as the big target.”

A capacity field of 16 faced the starter in a 2410m turf handicap, the Emirates SkyCargo, with Star Safari, one of eight Godolphin runners in the field, snatching the spoils with challenge timed to perfection by William Buick, sporting a distinguishing pink cap. Turning for home nearer last than first, Buick decided to avoid any potential traffic problems and was happy to pull wide, tracked by Antonio Fresu and Away He Goes.

Meanwhile, up front, Saqqara King, High End, Brilliant Light, Recordman and Al Dabaran were among those who threatened at some stage, but none had an answer to Buick’s mount who led in the final 75m, followed through by Away He Goes who snatched second from Brilliant Light, Recordman, High End and Saqqara King.

A 5-year-old gelded son of Sea The Stars, he has now won half of his six career starts and was recording a second Meydan carnival success having won a 2000m turf handicap at the end of last February, his sole 2020 racecourse appearance.

Appleby said: “We were pleased with his comeback run over 2000m a fortnight ago; because we knew he would need it after such a long break and hoped the extra distance would suit. William has given him a great ride and was pleased with the horse.”

Also on turf but restricted to 3-year-olds, the Meydan Trophy sponsored by Emirates Holidays was again dominated by Godolphin representation, this time four of the eight runners, and it was a quick double for Appleby and Buick, this time in a red cap, courtesy of the impressive Secret Protector. Settled in third by a motionless Buick, the War Front colt eased to the front with about 300m remaining and was never going to be caught. From last, Areen ran on to take second.

Third on his 1400m Kempton debut, in early September, he then returned almost three weeks later to the same all-weather course and distance to run out the comprehensive winner of a juvenile novice stakes. The switch to turf was clearly not an inconvenience, so much so that they equalled the track record despite not being asked for a serious effort at any stage.

Buick said: “That was just his third run and he has not done anything wrong in any of them. Tonight worked out perfectly because we just wanted a straightforward performance from which he could improve which is what we had.

“I don’t know but perhaps we will take him back to Britain now for an early season target. He is an exciting horse.”

The curtain fell after the Emirates Skywards, a 1000m turf handicap in which Sam Hitchott and Motafaawit dashed home in the second half of the contest to hit the front with about 250m remaining and running on strongly. A homebred 5-year-old gelded son of Intikhab, he is trained by Doug Watson for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose Mutaraffa was second for Musabbeh Al Mheiri.