DARING the best horses in the world to catch him, Gloria de Campeao raced to an early lead and relied on the courage that trainer Pascal Bary said is his hallmark to hold off a late lunge from the unheralded Lizard’s Desire to win the Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline in a thrilling finish that left the Meydan crowd wondering who had prevailed in the first US$10 million race in history.

Neither horse’s connections were sure until the results of the official photo finish were announced. Brazilian-based owner Stefan Friborg of Estrela Energia Stables yelled with delight and was immediately mobbed by family and friends.

“I don’t have words for it,” a beaming Friborg said of the six-year-old Brazilian-bred whose name means “Glorious Champion” in Portuguese and who had finished second to Well Armed in last year’s Dubai World Cup. “It was fabulous. The plan was to go to the front, and he is very tough. He enjoys a fight and he never gives up.”

“He always tries. He has a heart like that,” said an emotional Bary while holding his hands wide apart.

Ridden by Tiago Pereira, Gloria de Campeao covered the 2000 meters in 2:03.83 and officially won by a nose. Lizard’s Desire, who trainer Mike de Kock said “was the winner a jump past the line,” finished a short head in front of Godolphin’s third-placed Allybar, with American champion Gio Ponti fourth, 1¼ lengths back.

“I thought I had won, but as we passed the post, I looked across and the second jockey was celebrating so I thought I’d keep quiet and wait for the result,” said Pereira. “(Gloria de Campeao) was so brave and this is all just a dream.”

Kevin Shea, who rode South African-bred Lizard’s Desire, said his mount “gave me everything but the winner got it soft up front.

“It’s a very bitter pill to swallow, but I’ve got to swallow it,” he added. “When I looked up it was just after the line and I was in front and I thought I’d got it.”

Gloria de Campeao’s win marks a new era for the Dubai World Cup in its first running at Meydan and the first on an all-weather track. His victory marked the first time a horse not owned by Americans or the Maktoum family has won the world’s richest race.

The first three finishers had all raced during the Dubai International Racing Carnival, with Gloria de Campeao winning the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1and just missing by a nose when caught at the finish line by the Japanese filly Red Desire in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3.

Red Desire was one of the disappointments of the Dubai World Cup, finishing 11th as one of the early favourites following her Maktoum Challenge victory. Jockey Christophe Soumillon had hustled Red Desire out of the gate and into a forward position early in the World Cup running even though she had raced from farther back previously.

“When she came out, she didn’t accelerate in the stretch,” Soumillon said.

Ramon Dominguez, who rode Gio Ponti, another one of the favourites, also said the slow pace Gloria de Campeao was allowed to set hurt the chances of the American champion.

“I had a great trip,” Dominguez said. “I was very proud of how my horse ran. They were setting a very modest pace up in front of me; that really affected my horse. I wish there had been a little more pace.”

Following Gio Ponti across the finish line were, in order: Mastery, Gitano Hernando, Richard’s Kid, Mr. Brock, Crowded House, Twice Over, Red Desire, Vision d’Etat, Amor de Pobre and Furthest Land.



DAR Re Mi surged up the Meydan straight to fend off a super-strong group of turf champions to win the US$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic, sponsored by Guangsha Group.

The Japanese challenger Buena Vista produced the strongest finish just three-quarters of a way in second, with last year’s second Spanish Moon a desperately close third.

It was a superb effort from the Lady Lloyd-Webber-owned winner, especially as she had wintered in icy Britain and had not raced since her third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

With Saudi Arabian-trained Deem in fourth it was a triumph for mares, filling three of the first four places. It was also a magnificent start to the partnership between Newmarket trainer John Gosden and 21-year-old jockey William Buick, with both trainer and jockey heaping praise on each other in post race press interviews.

American challenger Presious Passion pushed on as expected with Golden Sword lurking a few lengths back and the rest of the field content to sit well off the pace in the 2400m Group One event.

But the closers swooped early in the straight as that pair faded and, though Buena Vista did not have the cleanest of runs through, Dar Re Me was always just hanging on.

Buick said: “When I saw her earlier this month it looked as though she had spent the winter in California, not freezing cold England.

In the race itself she just kept getting better and better, and found an extra gear in the stretch.”

Trainer Gosden added: “It’s been a big night. She’s a remarkable filly to come from the cold and win out here especially from the 14 stall. I told William to get a nice position but to sit and chill on the bend as it’s a long way home and I’m delighted that he did not panic. That’s his first winner for me and hopefully the start of a long relationship.”

Of the placed jockeys, Ryan Moore looked particularly crestfallen that he had failed by less than a length on Spanish Moon to deliver the US$3 million first prize to owner Prince Khallid Abdulla and trainer Sir Michael Stoute, commenting: “This horse always does his best, he’s just found two horses too strong on the night.”



UK-based jockey Royston French had the most prestigious win of his career when local galloper Al Shemali upset a classy field in the Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free.

Barely given a mention in the lead-up to one of the night’s highlight events, Al Shemali, given a great ride by French had the brace shot to pieces inside the 200 metres while many of his better-fancied rivals including the favourite Presvis were running into dead ends back in the field. At the finish, Al Shemali had a length and a half to spare over the fast-finishing Bankable with Imbongi three and a quarter lengths away third.

Trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Al Shemali has now won four races from his 18 starts but his previous form had been in far more modest events. French said the horse’s best form had been over longer distances but he knew if he could put him into the race at the right time he would finish it off well.

“It was a pleasant surprise (to win) but the stable has been in great form and I knew he’d stay.”

Trainer Herman Brown was far from disappointed with the run of Bankable, saying he had run “the race of his life.”

“We knew the pace was not g going to suit him and he had trouble getting a clear run in the straight but he could hardly have hit the line any better,’’ Brown said.

Jockey Kevin Shea agreed: “The best horse didn’t beat us. It was the pace that beat us, but we’re happy.”

The same could not be said of Luca Cumani, trainer of Presvis although he took the philosophical approach. “That’s racing. It was more like trackwork than a race and at least it didn’t take a lot out of him,” Cumani said. Presvis kept running into dead ends from before the home turn and jockey Christophe Lemaire eased him down in the run to the line. Cumani said he would press on with plans to take Presvis to Hong Kong for next month’s QE2 Cup at Sha Tin.

US galloper Courageous Cat was prominent to the home turn but gave ground in the run home. “He travelled well for a mile but when it was time to get to the quarter pole, he just kind of dropped it”, jockey Garret Gomez said.



KINSALE King announced himself as a potent new force in the global sprint ranks by taking out the Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News. Although he was making Group 1 debut, Kinsale King was always prominent in the run for jockey Garrett Gomez and never looked like relinquishing the lead having hit the front shortly after the turn for home. In the end, the five-year-old California-based son of Yankee Victor held a half-length margin at the line from the much-touted Singaporean star Rocket Man.

Hong Kong’s One World was a length and a half further behind in third. “I just wanted to get involved in the race early and once got he got involved he travelled well and in the last 400m he stayed on well. It was wonderful,” Gomez enthused.

American horses remain virtually unbeatable in this race. It was the 10th success by a Stateside sprinter since its introduction in 1996. And for overjoyed trainer Carl O’C?allaghan, 34, the result meant the world as his young career reached its zenith.

“This is what I want to do with my life and hopefully this proves that I can train and that it opens up a few more doors for me,” he said.

Commenting on Kinsale King, he continued: “He’s a great horse. He’s got a lot of heart, he’s a grinder and he just keeps going. His preparation went well. We took him to Golden Gate to work him on the Tapeta surface there and he went well and he travelled over here well – there was never one hitch.”

A date at the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot now beckons for Kinsale King where he may tackle Hong Kong sprinter Joy And Fun, winner of the Al Quoz Sprint earlier on the programme.



MUSIR, with Christophe Soumillon in the saddle, produced a storming run down the Meydan straight to out gun his stable companion the three year old filly Raihana and Kevin Shea to win the UAE Derby. In doing so he gave trainer Mike de Kock a remarkable fifth UAE Derby winner, and maintained the stranglehold that he and Saeed bin Suroor have on this race, as the only two trainers ever to win it. Bin Suroor has six wins to de Kock’s five.

The race was set up by another of de Kock’s runners in the field, Solid Choice and Keagan Latham, who set a scorching pace from the off and making it a true test of stamina. Soumillon was content to bide his time with Musir, and rode a patient race on the favourite, picking of his rivals then coming with a sustained run up the rail to go by the filly Raihana who lost nothing in defeat.

Afterwards Christophe Soumillon said “I was on a very good horse, and he showed a lot of courage in the straight. He had lot of weight and was racing over further than he’s been before. I was able to sit behind good horses. He had to go through a gap and he did. He finished like a really good horse.

A delighted Mike de Kock said of his fifth UAE Derby winner, I wasn’t sure that he would stay, to be honest, but Christophe (Soumillon) thought he would, and he was right. It is fantastic to have a one two for Sheikh Mohammed, and a great result for him as he bred them himself. It’s huge.

Kevin Shea was full of praise for the runner up Raihana “What can I say? She was absolutely brilliant. She travelled so well, I thought I was going to win, but not against Musir – he was just too good.”

Frankie Dettori fared best of the rest aboard Godolphin’s Mendip, and said” We had a mix up on the bend, when Timely Jazz broke down, but he ran an honest race and I’m pleased with him. He was beaten by two nice horses.”


SPRING might not be the season for fairytales but tell that to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin team, who were up in the clouds after Calming Influence, a first ever runner for Mahmoud Al Zarooni, who has just been appointed as second trainer to the boys in blue, came up with a dream start in the Godolphin Mile, the ninth time the Al Quoz team have won this Group 2 race.

Calming Influence, taking a big jump in class, was given a supremely confident ride by Ahmed Ajtebi making a joyous double celebration for the locals as they held off Green Coast by a length, with Skysurfers, the Godolphin second-string finishing third.

Plans for Cat Junior to make the running went out of the window when he blew the start, and Ajtebi got the perfect lead from long shot Le Drakkar.

The Godolphin-owned Desert Party, the mount of Frankie Dettori, was in trouble before the straight and trailed in 11th.

Simon Crisford, racing manager to Godolphin, said:”What a start for Godolphin, and what a day for Mahmoud and Ahmed, who gave Calming Influence such a brilliant ride. He is not easy – he can be hot and run free – but he was in control throughout and I could not be happier for him.

“Mahmoud, too, has done a lot of hard work on Calming Influence, and it is great for the locals, who also give us so much support. Calming Influence will go back to Europe and be aimed at all the top races.
The only disappointment was Desert Party. He was drawn wide and was always doing too much.”


THE Dubai Kahayla Classic, sponsored by EMAAR, the opening race of the Dubai World Cup night, went to Qatar after the Julian Smart trained Jaafer burst to the front in the final two hundred meters to beat the highly regarded No Risk Al Maury by five lengths. Paris Gagner, the early pacesetter, finished a further length and a quarter in third place.

“To bring a horse from Qatar, because I don’t think it has ever been won by Qatar, is just amazing,” said Julian Smart, who is originally from the Uk and has been training in Qatar since August.

For a long time it didn’t look like Jaafer, partnered by Adrie de Vries, was going to be playing any part in the 2000 meter race run on the All Weather track at Meydan. It was Paris Gagner who took the early lead, followed closely by Theoretically and Palapal while No Risk Al Maury was travelling in fourth position on the rail. Coming into the final turn, they were still tightly packed with Jaafer patiently waiting in the back.

As they turned for home, Palapal was the first to make a move, followed by Richard Hills on No Risk Al Maury who quickly took the lead. With only four hundred meters to the post, it looked like the His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s colours were going to win once more, but Jaafer was cruising on the outside and produced a great turn of foot to get to the front to win easily.

“Jaafer has run only one time in his career on the all-weather at Lingfield in England,” said Julian Smart. “Meydan suits him. We took him to Longchamp but the straight is too long and that doesn’t suit him. This style of running suits him. Adrie rode a great race, real calm. I actually thought he was too far back at one point, but he got him there and won, so what do you say?”


THE newest race on the Dubai World Cup program as well as the evening’s first thoroughbred race was the US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint, sponsored by Emirates NBD. The Group 3 race is run along Meydan’s 1200m straight course and attracted a full field of 16 runners with the winner’s prize going to the New Zealand-bred Joy And Fun, a Hong Kong invader, who scored by three-quarters of a length and covered the course in 1:09.80.

The winner is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Wong Chung Nam, trained by Derek Cruz and ridden by Brett Doyle. It was the second victory in Dubai World Cup night competition for Doyle and the first for trainer Cruz. Joy And Fun is only the second Hong Kong-based horse to score in Dubai World Cup night competition.

“That was great,” Doyle said. “The horse deserved it as he’s bumped into Sacred Kingdom a number of times. There’s no straight [1200m] six furlongs and that’s what he needs. The trainer chose the right race, he stays 1400metres and he outstayed the American horse.”

“I haven’t got the words to express it hardly, added his trainer. “I feel really proud, he pinged out of the gates and was more prominent than I thought he would be and Brett kept him there all the way and with a great ride and I guess at home he is more of a 1400 meter horse, so his stamina for this straight told in the end.”

The son of Cullen stalked the pace set by the United States representative California Flag and overtook that rival inside the final 200 metres. Fravashi also closed late to get past the leader for the place spot with California Flag settling for third after making most of the pace.

Only the second race ever to be run over the straight course at Meydan, California Flag was alert from the gate and maintained a clear lead over Joy And Fun, Star Crowned and Dohasa through the first 200 metres with Judd Street joining the fray at the 400.

War Artist, All Silent, Judd Street, Sirocco Breeze, Finjaan, Mariol, Asset, Terrific Challenge, Sir Gerry, Our Giant, Star Crowned, Prince Shaun and Dohasa completed the order of finish.



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