Vazirabad wins Gold again in Dubai
Last Updated: 25/03/17 4:51pm
The news from World Cup day in Dubai, where Vazirabad landed the big staying event for the second year in a row.
Second Summer came from the clouds to give Doug Watson victory in the Godolphin Mile, the opening event on Dubai World Cup day at Meydan.
Sharp Azteca appeared to have stolen the spoils under Edgard Zayas when he had a clear advantage with a furlong to run in the Group Two event, but he was treading water in the closing stages.
Pat Dobbs sensed an opportunity on Second Summer and along with the German challenger Ross, they were catching Sharp Azteca with every stride.
It was Second Summer who prevailed, with Sharp Azteca fading into third.
The favourite North America was in trouble from some way out and finished well beaten.
Watson said: "When I saw him coming, I knew he would finish well.
"I knew he had the class to do that but I wasn't sure if a mile would be too sharp for him.
"The speed was huge, though, and that suited him.
"We had been aiming at the World Cup, but when we heard Arrogate was coming and he was beaten in another race here, we took it easy and aimed for this."
Watson went on: "We were so disappointed with his last run after he'd run so well first time.
"We just didn't know how he would handle the conditions, but he came home so nicely.
"He has a bit of class about him, but we really weren't ready for that to happen today."
Vazirabad won the Dubai Gold Cup for the second successive year to take the prize back to France once more.
Christophe Soumillon was content to sit right out at the back on Alain de Royer-Dupre's stayer, as Big Orange put the pace to the race under Frankie Dettori.
Beautiful Romance - trying the two-mile trip for just the second time - was never far from the sharp end under Oisin Murphy and quickened up smartly off the bend, going two lengths clear.
Sheikhzayedroad started to give chase in the hands of Martin Harley, but Soumillon was making relentless progress on the five-year-old winner.
As Beautiful Romance began to tire Vazirabad hit the front, claiming the spoils from Saeed bin Suroor's mare with the David Simcock-trained Sheikhzayedroad right on their heels and Big Orange in fourth.
Royer-Dupre said: "The ground is a little bit soft, which is good for him and Soumillon was very good.
"Every time he races he gets better and because of this I was confident of a good effort from him.
"He likes to come from the back and Christophe took his time and picked them off one by one.
"He's a good horse with a great jockey and I think his main target this year will be the new Group One at Goodwood (Goodwood Cup), but we will also think about the Gold Cup (Ascot) as long as the ground is not too quick for him there."
Murphy said of the runner-up: "The race wasn't run to plan as they went slowly early on, but I was very happy turning in as she was all set to go from the front but we were run down by the favourite.
"I think she's an improving filly and I was delighted to be able to keep the ride and it's great to be wearing the (Godolphin) colours."
Harley said of Sheikhzayedroad: "I was a little bit unlucky, he travelled good, was nice and relaxed all the way and I thought there was plenty of room up the straight, but I was slightly hemmed in by Christophe's horse and without that I might have been second. But I would not have beaten the winner."
Thunder Snow got up in the shadow of the post to deny the Japanese raider Epicharis in the UAE Derby.
Winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas on his dirt debut, Thunder Snow appeared to have everything under control as he travelled up to the quarters of Epicharis.
However, inside the final furlong Thunder Snow jinked to his right, catching Christophe Soumillon off balance and handing the initiative to his Far East rival.
To his credit, and that of his rider, Thunder Snow knuckled down again, regained top speed and narrowly prevailed in a photo to give Saeed bin Suroor an eighth win in the race.
"It wasn't an easy race, but the horse is a champion," said Bin Suroor. "He was a Group One winner in France, won the Guineas here and to win the UAE Derby is great. The jockey gave him a brilliant ride."
Victory means he is automatically qualified for the Kentucky Derby but Bin Suroor would not be drawn on future targets. He said: "We'll talk to Sheikh Mohammed before making any plans."
Master Plan was third, with Aidan O'Brien's Dewhurst Stakes runner-up Lancaster Bomber in fourth.
Soumillon, recording a double after Vazirabad in the Dubai Gold Cup, said: "He gave me a great sensation when he won the Group One at Saint-Cloud, he has good gate speed and was wide awake tonight.
"When he came into the straight I thought I had a lot of horse under me and that he would win easily, but he got scared and changed legs.
"All credit to the horse, he concentrated when it mattered and got up, showing me he is a champion with a big heart. "I was always confident beforehand, even after the draw."
Bin Suroor added: "I talked to Sheikh Mohammed straight after the race because he is in the Kentucky Derby, the 2000 Guineas and the English Derby, so all options are open.
"I think he's very special for the future this horse. We gave him a break after the Guineas here and five days ago he was absolutely brilliant in his work, he looked a little green but the jockey was very good on him.
"It's a great result for Godolphin to win the Guineas and the Derby. He could be something very special for the future."
The Right Man caused a minor upset for France in the Al Quoz Sprint.
Third behind Jungle Cat in his prep race earlier this month, he turned that form on its head with Jungle Cat back in fourth.
This was supposed to be the crowning glory for Ertijaal, who has dominated the sprints at the last two carnival meetings but after hitting the front at halfway Jim Crowley's mount was headed a furlong out and finished third.
Another to disappoint was Henry Candy's Limato, whose chance diminished with every drop of rain during an overnight thunder storm which left conditions yielding on the turf course.
The Right Man, trained in France by Didier Guillemin and ridden by Francois-Xavier Bertras, just held off the late lunge of Bill Mott's Long On Value.
Washington DC finished just out of the places for Aidan O'Brien, with Jeremy Gask's Medicean Man not too far behind him.
William Buick, rider of Jungle Cat, said: "He normally finishes his races very strongly, but that ground blunted his speed to a degree and although he was staying on well he couldn't get there."
Limato was ridden by Harry Bentley, who said: "The run is disappointing, there is no doubt about that, but the ground was very loose, especially three furlongs out and he couldn't handle it.
"We will have to go back to the drawing board when we get him home."
Guillemin said: "To win this is a big surprise and coming into the race we would have been happy with a place finish.
"Along with Tin Horse winning the French 2000 Guineas, this is the biggest accomplishment of my career."
Bertras: said: "I was actually quite confident that he would run well as he wasn't 100 per cent fit in his prep run and I knew he had improved."
Mind Your Biscuits came with a powerful late run to win the Dubai Golden Shaheen in a decisive fashion.
Incredibly, the success was the first as a trainer for Chad Summers, who took over the training from Robert Falcone Jnr who guided the horse to second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last season.
Drawn widest of all in stall 14, Joel Rosario did not start his challenge until the home straight but he picked up impressively to win going away.
Comicas was second for Godolphin with Morawij third.
Rosario said: "When I knew we had stall 14 I wasn't very happy and it wasn't the best race as I was a little wider than I wanted before the turn.
"He showed he was the best horse today. I'm so happy for Chad, he works really hard and I'm glad to have the opportunity to be here."
Summers said: "He went a little wider than planned, but at this point I don't care if he was touching the turf course.
"He's a remarkable horse and Joel Rosario is a remarkable rider, I'm thrilled for everybody involved. I'm very proud and we knew we were coming here in December so set up a game plan and it came true.
"Your heart is in your throat for a little while, but when you have a jockey like Joel everything is fine."Jack Hobbs ran out an easy winner of a high-class renewal of the Dubai Sheema Classic.Trained by John Gosden for Godolphin, the 2015 Irish Derby winner looked a cut above a host of other Group One winners.Highland Reel set out to make all, as is his wont, but William Buick was keen not to let Ryan Moore loose on the lead.While everyone else was riding for all their worth, Buick was sat motionless before pressing the button down the straight and shooting clear.Seventh Heaven ran a big race for Aidan O'Brien, staying on stoutly for second to suggest she is likely to be a tough mare to beat this year, while Postponed, the winner 12 months ago, has not quite looked the force of old so far this season but still finished third.Gosden said: "When Godolphin bought into him they wanted to run him in this race and I said 'as a five-year-old, not at four'."We had a quiet year last year, but his form at Ascot was rock solid (in the Champion Stakes)."It was interesting Ryan stayed off the rail for the better ground, but that meant it was wide open in the straight and William was cool, just like he was when Dar Re Mi won this - he didn't go straight away."He's a lovely horse. He's got semi-blinkers on, they're only little, but in the Champion Stakes he spent the whole time dreaming."We'd had him out at 5am trying to get used to the lights, first time he was taken aback but he's got used to it."This is great, he's a family horse - Sheikh Mohammed, Princess Haya, Rachel (Hood, Gosden's wife) - it's great."Buick said: "Blinkers first-time and there's a strong wind, so he was a little keen but he's done it very well."He's a classy horse, the blinkers probably have helped, John said earlier in the week he was in great shape and he was proven right."This night is horse racing's Olympics, it's very important, certainly when wearing the royal blue (of Godolphin), so I'm very happy."O'Brien said of his two runners: "Highland Reel had quite an exacting year and this was his first run back on ground that wasn't ideal for him."It's very early in the season and I'm sure there's be other days ahead, but there are no excuses."For the filly (Seventh Heaven) it was also her first run back and I was delighted with her, it sets her up nicely for the coming months."Seamie Heffernan said of Seventh Heaven: "On her first run of the year she has run a cracker. She's a double Group One winner and I'm delighted with her."Andrea Atzeni said of the Roger Varian-trained Postponed: "The pace was a bit slow for my horse, which I was a little bit worried about in such a small field, and on that ground he didn't find the gears that we all know he possesses."Looking to future plans, Gosden added: "With a horse like this, after they've run here you need to freshen them up and I would like to look at the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot and then the King George, which are ideal races for him."I had supper with Sheikh Mohammed last night and he wants people to come here from all over the world and win races."Buick went on: "With first-time blinkers the one thing I didn't want him to do was over-race. He gave me a great feel throughout and was very impressive."Arrogate, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, won the Dubai World Cup in sensational style.For full coverage please see 1 RACING World.