The final fixture of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, Super Saturday lived up to its billing with both Gr1 features producing memorable winning efforts.
South Africa had three representatives on the programme, with Mike de Kock’’s Silvano son Janoobi staying on best for a gutsy third in the $300 000 Gr1 Jebel Hatta.
The 1800m race was a great spectacle with the lead seeming to change hands at least six times in the final 400m. The telling challenge, though, came from Godolphin’s Blair House, who pounced inside the final 150m under James Doyle, riding for Charlie Appleby.
Saeed bin Suroor-trained Benbatl was a close second, with Mike de Kock-conditioned Janoobi a head astern in third. Runner-up on his first two Carnival outings this year, Blair House had landed a handicap over this course and distance three weeks ago. The Group 1 $6 million Dubai Turf is the equivalent race on the big day.
Appleby, who won the 2016 Jebel Hatta with Tryster, said: “We knew this horse arrived here in good form and it looked a wide open race, as it transpired to be. I am sure we will have to come back with him in three weeks in what will be a stronger race but he owes us nothing now.”
Doyle added: “We won a bit too easily last time, so we had to step him up in class as there was no handicap opportunity for him. It has actually worked out very well in the end, because he is a Group 1 winner now!”
Brett Crawford’s Sun Met winner Whisky Baron was caught wide the whole way round and had nothing to come when asked. He ran a disappointing eighth and is unlikely to run on Dubai World Cup Night.
Three horses have won the US$400,000 Gr1 Al Maktoum Challenge over 2000m on dirt before following up in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and North America will try and emulate them after a smooth success, making all under Richard Mullen, riding for Ramzan Kadyrov and Satish Seemar.
Drawn six in a field of 12, Mullen’s mount was well away and ridden positively to get to the lead. Two-time Group 1 winner Thunder Snow, last year’s UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) and UAE Derby (G2) winner, was among those tracking him throughout and challenged as the two turned for home, ultimately failing to close in on his rival. In the end, North America was a 5¼ lengths, turning the tables on his aforementioned rival. Multiple G1-winning mare Furia Cruzada finished a game third, 3¾ lengths farther back.
“Last time, when second to Thunder Snow (in Round 2), was probably a career-best and he has built on that again tonight. I just wanted to get him into a rhythm; not necessarily to lead, but we broke so well, I was able to get to the front and he was then always happy. I am just very lucky to be part of a big team with Satish at Zabeel Stables. Everyone works so hard and it is great on occasions like this for everyone. Obviously the Dubai World Cup is going to be a stronger race, but he deserves his chance.”
Mike de Kock’s Al Sahem ran unplaced in the Dubai City Of Gold, the last event on the programme. Like Whisky Baron, his campaign could be over.