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Ispolini Pure Class In Nad Al Sheba Trophy; South Korea’s Dolkong Dominates Curlin

Thursday’s ninth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival was highlighted by the Nad Al Sheba Trophy sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City.

Ispolini Pure Class In Nad Al Sheba Trophy; South Korea’s Dolkong Dominates Curlin

Thursday’s ninth meeting of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival was highlighted by the Nad Al Sheba Trophy sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City.

District One (G3), the key local prep for the $1.5 million Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2) on Dubai World Cup night. Two other Listed stakes, the Meydan Classic for 3-year-olds on turf and Curlin Handicap for dirt route aficionados, added to an exciting penultimate night of the international showcase.

Ispolini winning the Nad Al Sheba Trophy Sponsored By Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One
Ispolini winning the Nad Al Sheba Trophy Sponsored By Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One Picture:Dubai Racing Club


$300,000 NAD AL SHEBA TROPHY (GROUP 3)

Over 2810m on the turf, the Nad Al Sheba Trophy appeared like Group 1 performer Brundtland’s race to lose, but the Charlie Appleby-trained Godolphin runner pulled up on the second turn. At that point, stablemate Ispolini, partnered by Mickael Barzalona, looked like the most certain of winners. Circling and then powering clear with ease, the son of Dubawi left many onlookers thinking he would have won the race even if Brundtland had stayed in the running.

Dolkong winning the Curlin Handicap Sponsored By Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One
Dolkong winning the Curlin Handicap Sponsored By Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One Picture:Dubai Racing Club

Godolphin filled out the top three, with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained duo of Red Galileo (Pat Cosgrave aboard), who led for a long way, and Bin Battuta (Christophe Soumillon)—who had beaten the winner in a turf handicap over 2410m on Jan. 3—finishing 10½ and 11½ lengths astern the much-the-best victor. The winner won for the second time over this course and distance and proved to be a leading contender for the 3200m Dubai Gold Cup on Mar. 30.

“He ran well last time and he showed a good turn-of-foot,” Barzalona said. “Today I had instructions to make him settle well in the first part of the race and then to see how it goes. He did it very well and he has been very impressive today. I could wait for ages, but he was going so much better than the others. I had to take him out and let him just relax and he enjoyed it. Last time he showed he could travel strongly and today the plan was just to make him relax, but he has got some speed as well. I think (the 3200m of the Dubai Gold Cup) is possible.”

“I always knew that stepping up in trip was going to open new doors for him and he showed that in his last start, his first one over this trip,” Appleby added. “We thought he was going the right way going into this evening. He was a horse we felt was going to be very competitive. Going forward, he could a potential horse for the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night. There are plans for him to potentially go to Australia, as well. We’ll make a decision over the next 24 hours on what we’re going to do. “

Cosgrave and Soumillon were pleased with their hard-knocking charges’ runs.

“He ran a top race,” Cosgrave said. “We tried to go a good gallop, to try and stretch them (the field). We found one too good in the end. He never runs a bad race. He’s tough and is always thereabouts. He always finds one too good unfortunately.”

Soumillon added: “I had a good run behind the favourite. Unfortunately, he came out of the race on the turn. At that point, I was going quite well and I thought he would finish one-two with Red Galileo, but when Mickael came to my outside (on Ispolini), I could see straight away that he would win. In the end, I think my horse would be better going shorter.”

Sweden’s Suspicious Mind, Zamaam and Pinzolo completed the order of finish. The final time was a solid 2:55.96.

$160,000 CURLIN HANDICAP (LISTED)

The Listed $160,000 Curlin Handicap sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City—District One, over the same 2000m on dirt as the world’s richest horse race, the $12 million Dubai World Cup, was turned into a procession by Dolkong, representing South Korea for owner Lee Tae In and trainer Simon Foster. In a truly international result, the 5-year-old gelded son of Afleet Alex was foaled in the US, is trained by an Australian and had Frenchman Olivier Doleuze in the saddle.

A winner six times in his career, he was opening his UAE account at the third attempt, having started his campaign when sixth in Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (G2) in January. He then ran an improved third in handicap company two weeks later over this trip. On Thursday, Tae In was in attendance for the first time.

“We thought they would go quick, but perhaps not as fast as they did,” Foster said. “Olivier is a class jockey and has given him a great ride. The horse is starting to mature and improving with age because he has not had that many races. We will have to look at Round 3 on Super Saturday for him, now.”

Doleuze, added: “I am very happy for everyone for the connections. I am lucky to ride this horse last time, when he ran a very good race. Since then I have been working on him and he looked like he really improved from the first time that I rode him. Today he showed what I was expecting him to show. He has already had a fantastic Carnival, he won a very good race today and everyone is happy. Now everything from here is a bonus.”

REMAINDER OF CARD

Restricted to 3-year-olds, over 1600m on turf, the $175,000 Meydan Classic sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One (Listed) produced a thrilling finish with Sporting Chance, who had hit the front over 300m out under Pat Cosgrave and out-fought a game Golden Jaguar close to the wire.

A 3-year-old Kodiac colt trained by Simon Crisford, who has a satellite yard at Meydan, the Abdulla Al Mansoori-owned charge his returned to the form of his juvenile season last year that saw him win in Group 3 company. The victory was a first at the Carnival for Crisford.

“When he was beaten by Golden Jaguar I was stuck on the inside at a crucial time and the first pair were able to get first run on me, so I was pretty hopeful of finishing closer to him today,” Cosgrave said. “He then ran pretty well on the dirt in the UAE 2000 Guineas and the trainer was confident the 1600m was ideal for him and credit to the horse, because we were headed, but he fought back very bravely to get his head back in front.”

Crisford added: “I am really delighted for the horse and I think he put up a great performance. He battled strongly and is such an honest horse who had a good 2-year-old campaign and proved that class again today. At this stage, there are no plans for the horse. It was all about today and he delivered. We will get him back to England and decide on the summer. It feels fantastic (to win a first Dubai World Cup Carnival race). We love the Carnival. It’s hard to win a race anywhere, but especially difficult at the Carnival. Dubai is my second home, so this is a great feeling to have.”

Crisford immediately completed a double with African Ride and Christophe Soumillon running out fairly comfortable winners of the District One Crystal Lagoon Trophy, possibly staking claims at the $1.5 million Godolphin Mile sponsored by District One (G2) on Dubai World Cup night. The 1600m dirt handicap appeared to be run at a scorching early gallop, which the Belgian was happy to track until committing for home at the top of the lane. Once in front, the 5-year-old son of Candy Ride soon had the race in safekeeping, running on strongly to record a fourth career victory, adding this to three wins, on all-weather surfaces in France.

“He has not been the easiest to train, but Simon and his team have been very patient with him,” Soumillon said. “The aim was some big races at Meydan and he ran in Al Maktoum Challenge R1. We hope we can get into the Godolphin Mile after this victory.”

Appleby completed a double for himself and Godolphin with On The Warpath defeating stable companion Mubtasim in the District One Elegance Stretch Cup, a 1400m turf handicap with William Buick aboard the winner. Never far off the pace, the 4-year-old Declaration Of War gelding quickened past his stablemate entering the final furlong to win fairly cosily.

Buick said: “The drop in trip has really suited him because he has just been struggling to stay over 1600m in these competitive Carnival races.”

The finale, the District One World Class Run, a 2000m turf handicap, was won by Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor and Mountain Hunter, who won a similar race two weeks prior—also a nightcap event. Soumillon completed a double with the win.

The meeting kicked off with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City District One (PA G1) with the 2000m dirt contest landed in style by AF Maher who was never headed under Tadhg O’Shea.

Perfectly drawn for positive tactics in stall two, O’Shea was able to secure the favoured rail and his mount was always travelling well before shooting clear on the home turn. Last year’s winner Ziyadd gave chase, but never looked likely to bridge the gap, having to settle for second. Riding for his main employer Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the winner is trained by Ernst Oertel, as are so many on those carrying his black and silver silks.

O’Shea said: “He is a very straightforward horse and, from that draw, I was always going to be positive on him because he also has plenty of natural speed. I was able to give him a breather and then when I asked him, he proved a very willing partner in the last part of the race. As I keep saying, Mr Al Nabooda deserves all the success he enjoys because he is such a big supporter of local racing and Ernst is a top trainer, especially with these Purebred Arabians.”Racing And Sports




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