A review of the pick of the action from the Dubai Carnival
Ihtimal advertised her QIPCO 1000 Guineas credentials with an impressive performance in the Dubai Carnival at Meydan.
Last Updated: 06/02/14 7:13pm
Campaigned busily in Britain last season by Saeed bin Suroor, she had won both the Sweet Solera and May Hill Stakes before posting a thoroughly respectable third behind Chriselliam in the Fillies' Mile.
The 5/4 favourite was settled in mid division by Silvestre de Sousa as Magroora made the running but Ihtimal gathered momentum towards the centre of the track and scored by three and a quarter lengths going away.
Bin Suroor said: "She's tiny but she has a real turn of foot and she handled the surface.
"We have some nice fillies here and in England but she's the best one. We'll have to talk to Sheikh Mohammed, but I think she will have one more run here (possibly UAE Oaks) and then the target is the English Guineas."
Bin Suroor was in flying form on the night, as Kieren Fallon caught his rivals napping aboard Prince Bishop in round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge.
The 14/1 chance was home and hosed before stablemate and 3-1 favourite African Story could close him down with a delayed challenge, while last year's winner Hunter's Light took fourth.
It was the trainer's 10th win in this race, and he said: "He always works really well and deserved his chance. African Story came from far away and I was pleased with him.
"African Story is much better than last year while Hunter's Light needed the race."
Bin Suroor and De Sousa combined again for an Excellent Result (7/2) in the Nova Stakes.
"I had to switch him off as he shows his best at the end, that's the way to ride him," said the jockey.
"He relaxed and finished the race. I wasn't happy with the way the race was run, but I was happy with the way he finished."
The meeting also provided a terrific start for the Irish team with regular visitors Mick Halford and David Marnane among the winners.
Halford decided to send Eastern Rules (7/2) quickly back into action after he was third at the course last week and it paid off under a determined Shane Foley in the IPIC Trophy Handicap.
Halford said: "He had a great run last week, I was a little concerned we were pulling him out so quickly but he's as tough as nails and he got a wonderful ride.
"I knew he'd stick at it well and Shane knows him inside and out, he knew he'd get him to the line."
He's No Saint then repeated the victory of 12 months ago from the same connections' Elleval in the Meydan Classic Trial.
Trained by Marnane, owned by Damian Lavelle and ridden, as was Elleval, by Fergal Lynch, the lightly-raced colt managed to win a Dundalk maiden in four starts back home.
A perfect gap opened up on the fence for the 14/1 chance, who was waited-with by Lynch but kicked right away.
Lynch said: "He's improving all the time, I don't know what happened last time in Dundalk but we've always liked him.
"I think he's better than Elleval, he has so much natural speed and does everything so easily."
The evening ended with a popular British success as the David O'Meara-trained Mont Ras claimed the Cepsa Mile on turf in the hands of William Buick.
Buick had the seven-year-old perfectly-positioned throughout and got a nice split when needed in the straight, before holding the challenge of Christophe Soumillon and El Estruendoso through the final furlong.