Europeans Frolic In Meydan Rain

A few surprises along the way thanks to track

It was a soggy Friday night which greeted horses trained in nine different countries for the fourth week of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, but all seemed sunny for the visiting Europeans who celebrated two winners.

Good Fortune wins Zabeel Turf in good style (Pic – ERA)

Persistent rain caused a downgrade in both tracks, to Muddy on the dirt and Yielding followed by Slow on the turf.

Such conditions can cause a few shocks and that was the case in the first of the turf events, the Listed Dubai Sprint (Presented by Longines), over 1200metres.

It gave the visiting international contingent a third win of the Carnival when Coachello took down favourite Man Of Promise after a tussle through the final 200metres.

The five-year-old, running for the third time this month, was a first Dubai winner for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott and he battled back once headed, crossing the line three-quarters of a length ahead of Man Of Promise with Thunder Of Niagara back in third.

“He jumped very good and I got there a bit too soon,” said winning jockey Pat Dobbs. “He hit a few patches on the ground but when he got the better ground he grabbed the bit and took me there.

“I think he’s better over a straight six [1200metres] as it’s easier to get into a rhythm over this distance.”

A good night for the overseas raiders saw Denmark celebrate a first success at the Carnival thanks to the win of Good Fortune in the Zabeel Turf. The five-year-old was just a second Dubai runner for trainer Soren Jensen and he had to be tough to see off the Godolphin-owned favourite White Wolf, prevailing by a short head.

“The sun’s not shining but it doesn’t matter!” said Jensen. “It’s my first trip down here and I’ve seen how difficult it is for Scandinavia to win here, so I’m very proud and delighted for the team.”

It was also a first UAE win on his first day riding at Meydan for French jockey Theo Bachelot, who has just completed a stint in Japan.

“I’m so excited to come here and it’s wonderful to win a race,” he said. “I went a little bit early and it was a tight finish but on this ground he was perfect.”

One race destined for the locals was the official feature, the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes (Presented by Longines), in which all eight runners were trained in Dubai. It was dominated by Doug Watson, whose Prince Eiji led home a one-two-three for the stable. Impressive in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile in December, the seven-year-old was behind two of these rivals when only fifth in the G2 Maktoum Challenge Round 1 last time but bounced back here.

Ridden by Sam Hitchcott, Prince Eiji was up with the pace throughout and was well placed to strike once leader Ever Given dropped back, winning by one and a quarter lengths from stablemates Everfast and Thegreatcollection.

“Fantastic result,” said Watson, winning this race for the second time. “I’m very happy for Sheikh Mohammed Obaid [Al Maktoum, owner] to see Prince Eiji come back like that. I thought Sam [Hitchcott] sat in the perfect position all the way around as you just don’t know how conditions like that are going to suit them.”

“He showed what he’s capable of there,” added Hitchcott. “It was a difficult decision for Pat [Dobbs] to ride Everfast but I learned a lot from riding this horse last time. He’s an athlete; he’s very natural when it comes to switching his leads, which is what you need on the dirt.”

On a night when water was on most people’s minds, Mawj was an appropriately named winner of the new Jumeirah Fillies’ Classic (Presented by Longines) over 1400metres on turf.

Mawj is Arabic for wave and Saeed Bin Suroor’s filly, a Group 2 winner in the UK, looked to have the race won easily when she and Pat Cosgrave kicked clear off the final turn. However, she only just held on by a rapidly diminishing short head from Dream Of Love, who flew home under William Buick.

“To be honest I got racing too far out and I wasn’t really going too well at the 600metres,” said winning jockey Pat Cosgrave. “She’s an Exceed And Excel and she doesn’t really want this ground. It was tight at the line but class got her through.”

Meydan stages its fifth Carnival meeting next Friday 3 February, when the Gr2 Singspiel Stakes and Gr2 Cape Verdi share top billing.

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