Invasor, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, and ridden by Fernando Jara, answered all the questions when coming out best in a duel down the straight with Premium Tap to land the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night.
In a race that was widely billed as a two horse showdown between Invasor and Godolphin’s Discreet Cat. The reality on the night was very different as the John Kimmel-trained Premium Tap, who was a long-time loading at the gate, set the pace with Saudi challenger Forty Licks, with the Hong Kong challenger Bullish Luck racing in third.
Invasor, Vermilion and Kandidate raced in mid division, with Frankie Dettori apparently content to settle Discreet Cat in rear.
On the turn for home Fernando Jara could be seen to be improving his position on Invasor and locked horns with Premium Tap for a duel that he finally won in the final hundred yards of a pulsating race.
In a battle between two tough horses, Invasor simply proved the tougher. At the head of the stretch Dettori tried to improve Discreet Cat’ position, but it soon became clear that there was little response, as the two leaders settled down to fight it out.
Bullish Luck, Hong Kong’s representative, trained by Tony Cruz, hung on well for third, delighting both his trainer and his jockey Brett Prebble with his game performance in his first ever race on dirt.
But this was all about the winner, and for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, it was the crowning moment of his career to date –– winning the race he most wanted to win for the owner he most wanted to win it for.
“Sheikh Mohammed hired me in 1993, but it was Sheikh Hamdan who adopted me. He’s been like family to me,” said McLaughlin, who was a four-time champion trainer in the UAE during his 10-year stint.
“I’ve seen Dubai grow and grow. I remember when the Sheikh Zayed Road was just a two-lane road! It was such a tough decision to leave here, but I was missing my family too much, and moved back in 2003.
“That’s why coming back here and winning the Dubai World Cup for Sheikh Hamdan is something I won’t be able to beat. We might look at the Suburban Handicap at Belmont on June 30 next –– but this was the real aim.”
Japan’s Vermilion plugged on for Christophe Lemaire for a never nearer fourth, ahead of the Ian Jory-trained hope from Saudi, Forty Licks, who raced prominently early on , but found little at the business end of the race for Mick Kinane.
Kandidate finished sixth under Seb Sanders, who felt his horse had forfeited what chance he had at the start, when he missed the break, just ahead of Discreet Cat, whom Dettori brought home in his own time, once his chance had gone.
Fernando Jara –– Invasor –– “This is very, very special. To come to Dubai and win the world’s richest race is just unbelievable. It looked like it would be a tough race and
Premium Tap made it difficult for us. I thought Discreet Cat would be on the lead, but I did not see him, and just concentrated on my horse. He is such a tough horse and I owe him such a lot.”
Frank Dettori –– Discreet Cat –– “I am very disappointed. I don’t know what to say, I don’t know if he didn’t stay or if there was some other reason. He was beaten a long way and I can’t tell you why.”
Simon Crisford, racing manager - Discreet Cat - “Discreet Cat has run way below form - I don’t know why. He was never going a yard - it was a big surprise to us but that’s racing. We will give him some time out now and then get him back to America . It was very disappointing but all the good champions get beaten at some point and he will be back.”
Saeed bin Suroor - trainer –– Discreet Cat
“It doesn’t look like Discreet Cat stays the distance and we will drop him back to a mile. It was a disappointing performance tonight and we will see how the horse comes out of the race before making firm plans.”
Christophe Lemaire –– Vermilion –– “He has run very well. The dirt surface here is very different from Japan and when the others quickened he couldn’t go with them but he galloped on very well. To be absolutely realistic he is probably just a little bit below the calibre of the horses that finished in front of him.”
Brett Prebble –– Bullish Luck –– “This was his first start on dirt, and I have to be pleased with the way that he has run under those circumstances. What more can I say?”
Seb Sanders –– Kandidate –– “It wasn’t a smooth race. He is normally good over the gate but he wasn’t tonight. I wanted to be a lot closer than I was, but missing the break cost us any chance. All said his run respectably.”
Kent Desmormeaux –– Premium Tap ––“The winner was too good. He (Premium Tap) was a little spread out (in the gate), they had him blindfolded. I was like, wait, wait, wait. I pulled the blindfold off and throw in out the back. I no longer get a hold and we’re gone. That was the only thing. I enjoyed the ride. Turning for home, I was looking behind me. He set sail. He (Invasor) couldn’t get me until at least the 3/16, then ate me up. The winner is a freak.”
Michael Kinane –– Forty Licks –– “He ran a little gassy, and was a bit disappointing in the straight. I was expecting a little more from him.”
RACE 6: DUBAI DUTY FREE
GROUP I US$5,000,000 1777m TURF
SPONSORED BY DUBAI DUTY FREE
The Japanese horse Admire Moon won the Dubai Duty Free ridden by Yutaka Take and trained by Riichi Kondo. Admire Moon beat Linngari into second, with Daiwa Major also from Japan , third in the 1777-metre turf contest.
Lava Man and Irridescence set the early pace, followed by Seihali on the rail, Mystical the Indian challenger, English Channel and Daiwa Major raced outside followed by Pompeii Ruler.
Stormy River raced in the middle of the pack while Admire Moon waited in behind. On the final turn Seihali, Daiwa Major and Admire Don were leading the field.
Seihali hit the front before Admire Moon took off at the 400-metres pole stealing a vital length. Linngari ran hard at the leader in the final half-furlong, coming from well off the pace, but Admire Moon had enough in hand to hold on by half a length, with four and a quarter lengths back to Daiwa Major
Admire Moon advertised the form of last December’s Hong Kong Cup where he finished second to Pride, one place in front of Vengeance of Rain, tonight’s Dubai Sheema Classic.
Yutaka Take –– Admire Moon –– “He performed quite brilliantly and he was confident coming into the race and was able to ride him accordingly. This horse is getting better with every race and he is definitely one of the best horses in the world and I would like to race him in Europe .”
Kevin O’ Shea –– Linngari –– “He has run a fantastic race, and we made up a lot of ground, but basically the wide draw (16) beat us.”
Olivier Peslier –– Stormy River –– “He came quite well, but had nowhere to go and he needed a race.”
Weichong Marwing –– Irridescence ––“She is a bit of a quirky filly and everything has to go her way. I was happy with where she was, but she basically refused to gallop. She was busy watching the infield camera. We have to go back to the drawing board.”
Corey Nakatani –– Lava Man –– “With about 3 1/2 furlongs left to run he said ‘‘I’ve had enough’ and that is just not him. It is disappointing.”
John Velazquez –– English Channel –– “He didn’t run at all. He never gave me any indication that he was going to run. He fell asleep in the gate.”
Katsumi Ando –– Daiwa Major –– “I could easily hold the front and find his rhythm, but the pace was a little slow so Admire Moon has more speed than Daiwa Major .”
John Murtagh –– Sehali- “He is a lovely horse and always gives his best, he got a little intimidated when the Japanese horse went by him, but ran on again.”
Michael Kinane –– Bad Girl Runs –– “It was all a bit of a struggle for her out there today from that wide draw.”
Kerrin McEvoy –– Formal Decree- “He has run OK, that is probably the best race that has contested in his career so far. I think he probably needs a little further now.”
RACE 5: DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC
GROUP I US$5,000,000 2400m TURF
SPONSORED BY NAKHEEL
Vengeance Of Rain, a New Zealand-bred son of Zabeel, won the US$5,000,000 Dubai Sheema Classic, sponsored by Nakheel, over 2400 meters on the turf. Oracle West finished second and Youmzain third.
In gaining his first win outside his homeland, Vengeance Of Rain became the first horse ever from Hong Kong to win an event on the Dubai World Cup card.
Godolphin’s Best Alibi took the early lead. Quijano raced in second followed by Vengeance Of Rain on the rail, while Host and Honey Rider were travelling outside with Sir Percy in mid division.
The placings and the moderate pace remained much the same at the back stretch, before Sir Percy started to make his move at the home turn.
Vengeance Of Rain was still biding his time behind the leaders and made a move to the outside between Quijano and Sir Percy, quickening to take the lead at the 300-metre pole.
Sir Percy tired a little allowing the South African-trained Oracle West, who had made late progress between Quijano and Youmzain, to finish bravely for third.
Anthony Delpech –– Vengeance of Rain –– “That was fantastic taking on such good horses. We were confident after he travelled so well from Hong Kong . This is the biggest mom ent of my career.”
Weichong Marwing- Oracle West - “He has come on from his last race and gave me everything today.”
Richard Hughes –– Youmzain ––“He has run a great race, but maybe a little more pace on early in the race would have helped us.”
Martin Dwyer –– Sir Percy –– “He is back. I was really pleased with that effort, he tried all the way and made a big move in the straight, but then he just got tired.”
Stephane Pasquier –– Bellamy Cat –– “He was on the bridle but he didn’t finish very well.”
Cory Nakatani –– Red Rocks –– “He was a little bit fresh but our goal today was to relax and make a run. He got a little tired, so no disgrace. He is going to move forward off this race. We will get them next time.”
Garrett Gomez –– Honey Ryder –– “I was out wide the whole time and didn’t have any coverage. She got bounced around a little bit. She is a filly against the boys and it took a toll on her.”
John Velazquez –– Host –– “I had a beautiful trip until I got down to the stretch and then I had no horse - I got no response.”
Andrasch Starke –– Quijano –– “I was a little disappointed with that effort. He didn’t really kick and find anything at the end like he did last time, but he has had three races here and maybe he was just a little tired.”
David Flores –– Obrigado –– “I was just behind from early on and never got a chance.”
RACE 4: DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN
GROUP I $2,000,000 1200m DIRT
SPONSORED BY GULF NEWS
Kelly's Landing, the Summerplace Farm owned and bred six year old gelding, won the US$2,000,000 Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News. Friendly Island finished second and local horse Salaam Dubai was third
Kelly's Landing broke well from gate three and was placed on the rail behind Bishop Court Hill, who took the lead followed by the French horse Marchand d'Or and Thor's Echo, while Friendly Island raced in sixth.
At the 400-metre pole Kelly's Landing attacked Bishop Court Hill on the inside and took the advantage while the Todd Pletcher-trained Friendly Island made late progress on his outside but had to settle for second beaten only half a length. Kelly's Landing trained by Eddie Kenneally won in the time of 1:10:34.
This was a first victory of the evening for jockey Frankie Dettori, who had failed to make the frame on either of his two previous mounts in the evening.
Frankie Dettori - Kelly's Landing - "American horses always handle the straight. What a ride he gave me. The trainer told me to get the rail and the plan worked out, he was getting a little leg weary at the end but the winning post came in time."
Garret Gomez - Friendly Island- "He was making up ground on the winner. My horse missed the break a little bit. He is not used to not having anybody in the gate with him. So overall he ran a really good race."
John Murtagh - Salaam Dubai- "He has run well, travelled well, stayed well to be third."
Corey Nakatani - Harvard Avenue- "He got bumped a little bit at the start, made a run straight up the middle of the track and made a really nice move. He just wasn't good enough to beat the horses in front."
John Velazquez - Bishop Court Hill - "Made a good run, but didn't have enough."
Eddie Ahern - Areyoutalkingtome - "They went very quick at the start, he was out paced early but he stayed on to finish in the middle of the pack."
Eddie Castro - Nightmare Affair- "He broke good but going toward the finish he didn't have it."
Davy Bonilla - Marchand D'Or - "A bit disappointing, it wasn't very easy. The horse was very generous as it was his first time on dirt."
Yutaka Take - Agnes Jedi- "He couldn't go the pace of the others and it was a little disappointing."
Yuichi Fukunaga - Seeking the Best- "He struggled to keep up. I was riding away on mine when the winner was still on the bridle."
Weichong Marwing - National Colour- "We missed the break and we were struggling after that."
RACE 3 : UAE DERBY
GROUP II $2,000,000 1800 metres DIRT
SPONSORED BY SAEED & MOHAMMED AL NABOODAH GROUP
Asiatic Boy, owned by HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum won the US$ 2,000,000 UAE Derby sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group.
Run on the 1800 meters, Asiatic Boy and Day Pass took the lead quickly joined by Rallying Cry on the inside.
On the back stretch the three front runners were joined by Eu Tambem, while Weichong Marwing restrained Asiatic Boy a little before the last turn. Jack
Junior raced in second on the rail with Adil in third.
In the stretch, the Mike de Kock-trained protégée took off and left his opposition behind to win by an easy nine and a half lengths. Jack Junior tried hard to follow the Argentinean-bred horse and finished second in front of the Saudi Arabian-trained Adil in third.
Weichong Marwing – Asiatic Boy “It was awesome. It was a competitive field and he has come out on top and he is the best horse I have ridden.”
Richard Hills – Jack Junior –“For a horse that is still a maiden, mine has run a great race. He is a horse with a future but the winner today was a very good horse.”
Kent Desormeaux - Adil – “The race couldn’t have gone better. The only way to make it better was to take out those two in front of me, because this horse ran as fast as he could.”
Ted Durcan – Rallying Cry –“He is a nice horse but didn’t have enough today.”
Frankie Dettori - Eu Tambem – “He didn’t take the turn at all well, and that cost him many lengths.”
Garrett Gomez – Day Pass- “I had a really good trip early on. When I came time to make my run, he was nowhere to be found. Godolphin will go back to the drawing board and I am sure they will figure him out.”
Kerrin McEvoy – Folk – “She didn’t fire today and was beaten a long way out.”
John Egan – Traffic Guard – “He didn’t really travel as well as he has done in previous races. He is just a big grass horse and you will see improved performances back home this summer.”
Richard Mullen – Greetings – “I was very disappointed with her we were never travelling from the word go.”
RACE 2 : GODOLPHIN MILE
$1,000,000 Group 2 1600 metres DIRT
SPONSORED BY ETISALAT
Spring At Last won the 1600-metres US$1,000,000 Godolphin Mile (sponsored by Etisalat).
Trained by the Californian based Doug O'Neill and ridden by Garrett Gomez, the four-year-old raced home in the time of 1.36:16. Parole Board finished second and Mullins Bay third.
Owned by Mr J Paul Reddam & Winstar Farm LLC, Spring At Last broke very well from the gate and was leading beside the Brazilian Nelore Pora followed by Killybegs.
At the top of the stretch, these three were at the front while Mullins Bay came on the outside, along with Parole Board.
The latter soon took control from Mullins Bay inside the final two furlongs, only for Spring At Last to find more in the final furlong, and win going away.
Garrett Gomez - Spring At Last - "He ran a wonderful race today. A mile is right up his alley and he showed it. We were really confident going into the race and the race went absolutely perfectly for him. This victory will hopefully take him to the Breeder's Cup."
Ted Durcan - Parole Board- 2nd - "My horse has run a fantastic race, he came to win it, but the American horse was just too strong today. Maybe a mile is as far as my fellow wants to go."
Weichong Marwing - Mullins Bay 3rd - " I was very happy with my horse he has run very well. No excuses."
David Flores - Dixie Meister 4th - "Made a good run but the track was not in our favour. Too dry."
Christophe Soumillon - Fusaichi Richard - "He broke very badly from the gate, which cost him ground. Otherwise I think he might have been third or fourth."
Stephane Pasquier - Merlerault - "This race was a big step up for him from a Listed race in France. He will be better back on turf over 2,000 meters."
Frankie Dettori - Killybegs - "It was his first time on the dirt and he didn't enjoy it."
Zeferino Rosa - Nelore Pora -"Pace of the race was too fast, he is a horse which likes to run in front, if he was more relaxed he would have had a better chance."
Martin Dwyer - Gharir - "They went in a very fast pace."
Johnny Murtagh - Vortex - "His wide draw wasn't really the problem. I got a nice position but he just did not have the kick that he had last time."
Race 1: 5.00pm
DUBAI KAHAYLA CLASSIC (Group 1) Purebred Arabians
US$250,000 sponsored by EMAAR
Madjani created history by winning the US$250,000 Dubai Kahayla Classic raced on 2000 metres of the dirt track of Nad Al Sheba, sponsored by Emaar.
Madjani was winning for the third time equaling Alanudd, winner of the Classic Arabian race in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Charh finished second and Mizzna third.
Not seen since his last win in the HH The President Cup Prep at Abu Dhabi last January, Madjani jumped from gate 10 and was seated third on the rail while Al Jalfane was leading the pack.
At the head of the straight, German raider Robbie took the lead on the inside and looked like a potential winner until tiring with a furlong to go.
Madjani took it up but was all out to hold off the late challenge of Erwan Charpy's Charh. This was Richard Hills' fourth success in this race.
Winning jockey - Richard Hills: "We were worried coming into the race because he was injured when he stepped on a golf ball and I didn't think he would find more in the final stages of the race but he did, he is the best."
Winning trainer - Gillian Duffield "I was worried when the others came at him, but he dug really deep. That's what he's all about and I love him!"
Tadgh O'Shea - Charh - "Travelled (Charh) well I was happy, but Madjani was a little bit better"
Richard Mullen - Kerbel Lotois - "Sheikh Hamdan's horse quickened up and ran way from me. My horse has been beaten by a very, very smart Arab."
Adie De Vies - Robbie - "I thought it was Istanbul all over again. He came to win the race but then he got tired."
Johnny Murtagh - Dynamite - "He just didn't stay."
Ted Durcan - Al Moutawkel - "My horse was outclassed."
Gerald Avranche - Mizzna- "I was caught a little wide and I couldn't get in, but she has run very well."
Eddie Ahern - Al Awal- "He travelled well but then flattened out in the latter stages.