It’s never too early to start dreaming of Dubai World Cup day success and the connections of Colour Up can do just that after their five-year-old painted a pretty picture in the Listed Al Garhoud Sprint (Presented by Azizi) at Meydan on Friday evening.
Fourth in the Gr3 Mahab Al Shimaal when last seen in March, the Mehmas gelding did it the hard way after being bumped at the start and then forced wide.
Ridden by Sam Hitchcott who kept a cool head, he flew into the lead at the top of the straight and although tiring close home, had enough left to beat Leading Spirit by a quarter of a length. Saleymm was a good third on local debut.
“He’s a real nice horse,” said trainer Doug Watson of Sayed Hashish’s gelding. “A lot of our horses have been coming up a little bit short and he was getting tired at the end but hopefully he’ll move up from here.”
“It was a bit messy early, I wanted to be third or fourth but everyone wanted the same position,” said Hitchcott, deputising for the injured Pat Dobbs. “He’s done it really well in the end and has really filled out this season.
“These are the races we all come for. Commiserations to Pat, but it’s nice to get the opportunity and when you get it, it’s nice to produce.”
Another Treble for Seemar
Prominent owners Jim and Fitri Hay have made a good start to the season and picked up their second win when Nevershow Weakness took the Azizi Creek Views Maiden over 1600metres.
Ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for Bhupat Seemar, the Lord Nelson gelding led home a stable one-two from Mezzotinto and Arabian Tale.
“I think he’s a ten-furlong (2000metres) horse as he went through the line strong and he’ll be more in his comfort zone over further,” said O’Shea. “He’s tough and genuine and I’m glad he’s won as his owners are here.”
Owners Michael and Negar Burke are also enjoying a fine campaign and their Killer Collect gave O’Shea and Seemar a double, taking the Mina By Azizi two-year-old contest over a mile.
Third on debut a month ago, the Collected colt was always up with the pace and found plenty once challenged, trouncing Valdivia by seven and a half lengths.
“He’s a lovely horse,” said O’Shea. “I loved him here at the Dubai Breeze-up Sale and thankfully the Burke family bought him as I think they have a good horse on their hands.
“He doesn’t ride like a two-year-old; he rides like an older horse. His ‘ace card’ is his mind – he’s so laid back. We might take him home now, wrap him up, and look at something like the Guineas trial.”
Two soon became three for Seemar when Laasudood gave jockey Jim Crowley a first Meydan winner of the season in the 1400metre Azizi Riviera Handicap.
Running for just the second time in the UAE and the first on dirt, the War Front gelding seemed to love his Meydan experience and beat the battling Rayed by half a length.
More Riches in Madjani Stakes
He’s been one of the best Arabians in the UAE for several years and RB Rich Lyke Me showed he’s still a force with an emphatic win in the Gr2 Madjani Stakes (Presented by Azizi), for Purebred Arabians.
Ridden as usual by Adrie De Vries for trainer Fawzi Nass, the seven-year-old sat just behind stablemate Hiab Al Zaman early and was primed to pounce when they turned for home, powering clear for a four and a half-length win over RB Frynchh Dude, with former Kahayla Classic winner Deryan third.
“This horse always runs well fresh so I had no doubt today that he would perform,” said De Vries. “It’s keeping his performance to the end of the season that we need to do.
“I was a little bit worried when the other horse led, but he settled nicely. He’s a horse who always gives 120 per cent.”
Nass and De Vries doubled up two races later when Watch My Six broke his maiden in the 2200metre Azizi Grand Handicap.
Only 12 lengths behind the great Baaeed on his final British run in June 2021, he was an eye-catching second at Jebel Ali just six days ago and got his win here; charging through from the back of the field and reeling in long-time leader Big Team close home.
“They went fast so I was sure they were coming back,” said De Vries. “It’s only his second run after a long break so I’m sure there’s more to come.”
Ajuste Fiscal – Just!
The closest finish of the night came in the Azizi Venice Handicap, over 1900metres, which was a race of changing fortunes.
Forest Falcon, lose on the lead, looked hard to catch until the home turn when Uruguay Group 1 winner Ajuste Fiscal came to challenge, charging to the front under Jose Da Silva.
He looked to have done enough, only for Made In Dubai to throw down a late challenge and join him on the line, failing by a nose.
It was a second win of the season for Da Silva, who said: “He’s a very good horse but that was difficult under all that weight (62kg). I thought the other horse had got there; I definitely needed the line!”
By contrast, Al Jaddaf was one of the most impressive of the night, streaking to an emphatic win under top weight in the 1600metre Azizi Reve Handicap.
A winner over course and distance a month ago, the Ahmad Bin Harmash-trained four-year-old has been a revelation this season and he gave Jockeys’ Championship leader Connor Beasley his 20th winner of the campaign, beating Al Maroom by six and a half lengths.
“He’s just progressed from each run and today he was extra special,” said Beasley. “He jumped, travelled away nicely and kept on going well.”
For most of the night it looked as if the season’s leading trainer Michael Costa would go winnerless but he wasn’t about to let that happen and took the closing Beach Oasis By Azizi Handicap, over 1200metres.
Five-year-old Taakeed was making only his third start but was ridden with confidence up front by Ben Coen and streaked away for a four length success, breaking his maiden in the process.
Racing continues at Meydan with the ‘Festive Friday’ on 22 December, when the Gr2 Al Rashidiya and AED1million Gr2 Maktoum Mile headline proceedings on a card which sees the turf track open for the first time this season.