Classic Trial Win Rebel's Romance Stars In Godolphin Double

Racing at Meydan on Thursday evening was officially highlighted by the 1600m UAE 2000 Guineas Trial sponsored by Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, one of three races on the card restricted to the 3-year-old Classic generation, was won in determined fashion by Godolphin’s Rebel’s Romance.

The dirt feature, over the same course and distance as the first colts’ Classic, actually produced a close finish with the Godolphin horse, partnered by William Buick for Charlie Appleby, hitting the front about 225m out and just holding the desperate late challenge of Mouheeb. However, the line was always going to appear a stride too early for the latter with the Godolphin horse, a homebred gelded son of Dubawi, now unbeaten after three starts having won over 1600m on the all-weather surfaces at both Newcastle, on debut in late October, and Kempton, in the middle of November.

A dead-heat for third, shared by debutant Sharp Spun and the previously unbeaten Zhou Storm, was fought out fully seven lengths in arrears.

Appleby said: “That was a perfect first experience on dirt and he will have learned a lot. He was a bit slowly away as we expected, but he has travelled strongly and picked up well.

“It looked close at the end, but when you watch it back William has really looked after him and given him a nice education with the UAE 2000 Guineas in mind.

“Whatever he does this year though he is going to be a really nice horse for 2022 and is one to look forward to. As a gelding, hopefully he will be around for a few years.”

Also for 3-year-olds, the turf highlight was the 1200m Dubai Trophy sponsored by DP World UAE region and First Smile looked certain to complete a treble for Godolphin and doubles for Saeed bin Suroor and Pat Cosgrave when cruising to the front passing the 350m pole.

They swept past early leader Topper Bill and went two lengths clear only for the latter to keep galloping on relentless, rallying to regain the lead in the final 25m, responding well for Richard Mullen, riding for Satish Seemar in the colours of Ali Al Shafar & Abdulla Al Shafar. A gelded son of Intrinsic making his local debut, he was doubling his career tally at the fifth attempt, his previous success registered in a 1400m Catterick maiden for his breeder Malih Al Basti and trainer Adrian Nicholls.

Seemar said: “To be honest that was quite a nice surprise because he has not shown much at home, but some horses are like that.

“He has shown a great attitude as well as plenty of speed, so it was all very pleasing.”

The opening Mina Hamriya, a 1400m dirt maiden for 3-year-olds, was dominated by Salem bin Ghadayer who supplied both the winner, Meshakel and runner-up, Rare Ninja, but only one horse really mattered from the moment Royston Ffrench kicked for home on the easy victor. A Shamardal colt owned by Salem Rashid, Meshakel was second to another Bin Ghadayer 3-year-old, Hurry Up, on his UAE debut over 1200m at Jebel Ali just last Friday having run thrice in Britain for Mark Johnston. After a slightly slow start, the winner was soon in front and had the race in safekeeping shortly after halfway.

Ffrench said: “We all know the Mark Johnston horses are tough and this horse has shown that with two good efforts in a week.

“This horse has plenty of speed and a touch of class, so is a really nice ride for a jockey. He is a nice sort.”

Ffrench denied Mickael Barzalona in that race and repeated the trick aboard Firnas in a 1900m dirt handicap, the Jebel Ali Port, the pair denying the Frenchman aboard McFancy as the Bin Ghadayer team celebrated a second 1-2 on the card. A gelded son of Dubawi owned by Ahmad Ghalita Almheiri, the 8-year-old was posting his third consecutive victory and remains unbeaten this season after a pair of 2000m dirt Meydan victories, a handicap and, most notably, the Listed The Entisar.

Bin Ghadayer said: “He has always worked like a good, honest horse and is really showing on a racecourse what he shows us at home.

“We have lots of options with him, on dirt or even on turf, but we will see what his rating is after this before making a decision.”

Gervais continued the fine form of Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, who celebrated a Meydan treble last Thursday, with a smooth success under stable jockey Connor Beasley, in double form seven days ago, in a 1400m dirt handicap, the P & O Marinas. Settled in midfield, the 7-year-old gelded son of Distorted Humor was pulled out of any traffic halfway up the straight before finishing to good effect with a decisive challenge to lead inside the final 100m, the pair pulling away as the line approached. A winner just once prior to this season, Gervais had doubled his tally on his penultimate start in a 1600m Meydan maiden and is now thrice a winner for Al Rayhi and owner Jumaa Mubarak Al Junaibi.

Beasley said: “The horses are in great form and this fellow is a bonny, consistent one who is running at the top of his game.”

The JAFZA, a 2410m turf handicap, was won easily by Godolphin’s Global Heat, always travelling well under Pat Cosgrave and able to record a second career success at just the eighth attempt on this, his seasonal debut. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 5-year-old Toronado gelding was settled in third, in the ‘box seat’ by Pat Cosgrave and once sent to the lead about 375m from home, sweeping past Miracle Maker who plugged on gamely for second, the race was basically over. A 2000m winner at Ripon in May 2019, he was far from disgraced in two turf outings at the Dubai World Cup Carnival last year and this win will have cemented his place at this year’s edition of the international extravaganza.

Bin Suroor said: “He is a nice horse and we were keen to try him over 2400m and there is a carnival race for him in four weeks, but he will stay further as well so we have options.”

The finale, a 1400m turf handicap, the Mina Rashid, provided the perfect opportunity for Ismail Mohammed to open his account for the season, with Wasim, who he also owns, landing the spoils despite refusing to settle for Mickael Barzalona. It was only the trainer’s third runner of the campaign, all with this horse who has now won four times, twice over this course and distance having landed the Meydan Classic Trial in 2018. A 6-year-old Acclamation entire, he also won at Doncaster in Britain and his third success was recorded on dirt, at Jebel Ali, over 1400m in March 2018.