Etisalat was the generous sponsor of Thursday’s third meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival and the phone lines to South Africa must have been busy after the ultra-impressive victory of Musir in the Group Three Maktoum Challenge Round I (for Thoroughbreds), the featured 1600m all-weather contest.
Trained by South African Mike de Kock, Musir, the UAE 2,000 Guineas and UAE Derby winner of 2010 was always going well under Christophe Soumillon who eased his mount to the front over 200m out to score an easy victory with stable companion Master Of Hounds running on strongly to snatch second.
De Kock was obviously delighted and said: “We thought both would run well but I do not think we would have predicted a 1-2. Musir has been a great servant in recent years and is getting stronger and tougher with age. I do genuinely believe he is a better turf horse and the Dubai Duty Free is his big target so he will switch to the grass now. We hope Master Of Hounds is a Dubai World Cup horse so that is a good start with him. He was badly drawn and needs further so we are very pleased. He will continue in the second round of the [Al] Maktoum Challenge.”
The Group One Purebred Arabian version of the Maktoum Challenge Round I, also over 1600m, was won by the Saifaldin Deeb-trained Sahib Du Clos, who had won the National Day Cup on the Abu Dhabi turf on his previous outing.
Ridden by Royston Ffrench, he led in the dying strides to post a dramatic victory and Ffrench said: “I was not sure if we had won.”
They had indeed caught Kandar Du Falgas literally in the last strides, but that horse’s connections, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Doug Watson and Richard Hills soon gained some compensation with Barbecue Eddie in the following 1400m all-weather Etisalat MyPlan handicap.
It was a third course and distance win for the horse and Hills said: “We had a good draw so I was always hopeful and we were able to get a lovely lead into the race. When the gap opened on the rail I had to go for it and he has run on strongly all the way to the line.”
The UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial Sponsored by Etisalat was over the same 1400m on the all-weather and Dark Matter was the impressive winner for Singapore.
Ted Durcan was in the saddle on the three-year-old, one of only two runners foaled in the Southern Hemisphere, and, not dissimilar to Hills on Barbecue Eddie, he was able to track the early pace before finding a gap on the rail.
Durcan said: “That was quite impressive and the extra 200m in the UAE 2,000 Guineas will suit him. Hopefully he will be a major player in that race.”
Both Godolphin trainers visited the winner’s enclosure with Frankie Dettori scoring a comfortable victory on Naqshabban in the 2410m Etisalat My DataPlan, a turf handicap for Mahmoud Al Zarooni.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Songcraft won the concluding 2000m Etisalat 4G, also on the grass track, under Silvestre De Sousa who was riding his first winner in the UAE.
Addictive Dream, trained by Dandy Nicholls and ridden by his son Adrian, became the first horse to win twice at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival when winning the 1200m turf Etisalat elife a week after he had won a similar race over 1000m.