Super Saturday, the second biggest meeting of the UAE season at Meydan, and a dress rehearsal for Dubai World Cup night three weeks later, was officially highlighted by the Gr1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 sponsored by Emirates Airline,
The $390 000 Gr1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 was run over the same 2000m on dirt as the $12 million Dubai World Cup, and was won in determined fashion by Salute The Soldier.
The 6-year-old Sepoy gelding was given a polished ride by Adrie de Vries, the pair in front after about 100m and staying there.
Victorious on this card last year, when never headed in the 1600m Gr3 Burj Nahaar, he arrived here having landed his previous start, the 1900m Al Maktoum Challenge R2 and has now won four times for current connections having won the same amount when trained in Britain by Clive Cox.
Purchased for 380,000gns at Tattersalls in October 2019, he has proved a shrewd purchase who is equally effective on dirt and turf.
Trained by Fawzi Nass for Victorious, he was always travelling well for De Vries who set sail for home at the top of the straight, the pair always seemingly holding the challenge of Hypothetical.
De Vries said: “He stayed the 1900m so well last time we were confident the extra 100m would be fine and so it has proved. I was able to set the fractions to suit myself which was ideal and that was a very good performance. I did not expect to be able to lead really, but was more than happy to do so.
“This is my biggest UAE winner and it is a massive result for myself and the whole team. This horse is a lot more relaxed this year and has really matured. I am now really looking forward to the World Cup in three weeks’ time.”