Class prevails as RB Rich Lyke Me far too good in Bani Yas Meydan feature before Watson dominates with Thoroughbred treble

Racing at Meydan on Thursday was highlighted by the only Purebred Arabian race, the Group 2 Bani Yas sponsored by Dubai Police, which opened the card and was won emphatically by RB Rich Lyke Me who proved in a totally different class to his eight rivals.

Making his local debut and first start for Fawzi Nass, who owns the 5yo entire in partnership with Victorious in whose red and white silks jockey Adrie de Vries enjoyed an armchair ride.

Soon in front, De Vries sat motionless throughout with his mount pulling clear as they progressed in splendid isolation up the home straight to post a most impressive success, the eighth of the horse’s career.

Previously raced in his native USA, he was runner-up in Grade One company on his final start for previous connections in May and his American victories include four Grade Three wins.

De Vries said: “Fawzi had been looking for a good Purebred Arabian for Meydan and this is one of two he has bought.
“He had been going very well at home so we came here expecting a big run and he has produced that. He will stay further as well so is a nice addition.”

The Thoroughbred highlight, a 1400m rated conditions stakes for 3yos, the Dubai Health Authority, was dominated by Doug Watson who saddled the 1-2, Sam Hitchcott and Faithful Warrior probably never headed, with stable companion Mnasek never able to land a blow but snatching second close home.

A son of Not This Time, he was making it two wins from four starts, adding this to a 1400m Jebel Ali victory on the middle of three starts last season and has been gelded since last seen in April.

Raced by Amanda Butler, he cost $230,000 at Ocala as a 2yo last July and has always been highly regarded by his trainer and Watson, completing a double on the evening, said: “We gelded him and he has thrived over the summer so we were hopeful coming here tonight and that was a very pleasing return to action.
“Hopefully he can build on this and Mnasek ran a nice race under a big race against the boys so we are very pleased with both.”

The Dubai Civil Defense, a 1200m juvenile maiden and first 2yo contest of the season here at Meydan, contested by seven debutants, went to Taking Names who showed no signs of inexperience, breaking sharply under Pat Dobbs and just one of two horses ever really involved with a realistic winning chance.

Dobbs was content to take a lead from Summer Is Tomorrow until leaving the home turn when he asked for an effort. His mount, a colt by Arrogate, responded enthusiastically and soon had the race in safekeeping.

Purchased for $150,000 at Ocala in June, he was saddled by Watson for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

Watson said: “He had two trials and had learned from that and shot out the gates tonight which was pleasing. He had been working well and, hopefully, is a horse with a future.”

The American later completed a treble, snaring the Dubai Ambulance, a 2000m handicap, with seasonal debutant Mulfit, partnered to a comfortable victory by George Buckell.

It was just a second career success for the 5yo gelded son of Exchange Rate whose previous visit to the winner’s enclosure was after a 1600m success on the Meydan dirt track in a 3yo maiden in early November 2019. That was actually just his second appearance for Watson and he has only run five times since.

A delighted Buckell said: “The yard have always liked this horse and everything fell into place for him this evening.”

Bhupat Seemar saddled his first winner as master of Zabeel Stables with Kafoo producing a virtual carbon copy of Taking Names’ victory 30 minutes earlier, storming clear in the Dubai Municipality, a 1600m 3yo maiden, under a confident Tadhg O’Shea. Settled just behind early leader Beijing Billy, O’Shea went for home at the top of the straight and was never in danger, stable companion Al Maroom emerging from the pack to provide Seemar a 1-2.

A Curlin colt making his debut, he races in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and was purchased as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2019 for $250,000.

Seemar said: “He is a lovely horse and one we have always really liked. We thought he would run well and were very hopeful but it is always a relief when they deliver.”

The trainer completed a rapid double with apprentice Sean Kirrane never headed aboard dirt debutant Imperial Empire in the following 1400m handicap, the Roads & Transport Authority.

They were chased home by Tabarrak who was basically second throughout the race in which, although attracting a capacity field of 16, very few were ever able to throw down a challenge.

Owned by Al Rashid Stables, the 4yo Dubawi gelding has now won thrice, once in Britain for Godolphin and on his local debut in a 1600m handicap on the Meydan turf in January.

Kirrane said: “That’s my first winner this season which is a relief and the yard and these owners have been good supporters of mine for which I am very grateful.”

The concluding Dubai Media Incorporated, a 1200m handicap, proved a memorable occasion for Union Racing who own the winner, Vasari, in partnership with Abdallah Al Mamari, with their colors also carried by runner-up Wufud who races solely in their name.

Antonio Fresu partnered the winner, a 4yo Muhaarar gelding for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, the pair denying Seemar a treble with Wufud.

All seven races were on the dirt track and named in honour of Covid-19 frontline workers at government entities government authorities.