Salute The Soldier’s Super Saturday Salute

Dubai World Cup bid on track

Salute The Soldier became the first horse to win two editions of the Gr1 Maktoum Challenge R3 (sponsored by Emirates Airline), rolling back the years in Super Saturday’s $450 000 Meydan feature.

Ridden by Adrie de Vries for Fawzi Nass, the eight-year-old was drawn wide in 10 and couldn’t take up his customary front-running role, as First Constitution took the field along over the 2000metre dirt course. Off the home turn it was favourite Bendoog who set sail for home, but Salute The Soldier soon loomed large on his outside and wasn’t stopping, powering to a two-length success, the tenth of his long career.

Happy connections lead Salute The Soldier in (Pic – DRC)

“We went fast and I was happy with my draw on the outside,” said de Vries. “I followed James [Doyle, on Bendoog] as he had, in my opinion, the horse to beat. I gave him a nice breather on the turn and he took him a while to pick up, but he seems to have a lot more stamina now and he made it look easy at the end.

“He wasn’t the same last season, for whatever reason, but the team have done an amazing job to get him back to his old form.”

Rated 111 ahead of this race, Salute The Soldier’s connections will be hoping for another invitation to the $12million Dubai World Cup, in which he finished fifth in 2021.

Watch the replay here:

It was a night to remember for owners Victorious, Nass and de Vries who 35 minutes earlier took the Listed Al Bastakiya when Go Soldier Go came from last to first for a breathtakingly narrow success.

Turning for home in the 1900metre dirt event, prep for the G2 UAE Derby, it was Southern Artist and Ami Please who were locked in battle. When they began to tire, Mr Raj and Go Soldier Go swooped close home and the latter stole the win by a head.

It was a second win in the race for trainer Nass, who also took it in 2014 with Asmar, while his jockey was winning it for the first time.

“He takes time to get going, although he travelled OK,” said de Vries. “I was stuck behind beaten horses on the backside so then I had to rush him a bit, but he has plenty of stamina.

“Once he got out of the kickback he quickened up really well. I’ll just have to ride him the same way [in the Gr2 UAE Derby] and see if they go fast enough.”

Go Soldier Go, a son of Tapiture, is a graduate of the inaugural Dubai Breeze-up sale, having previously been through the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

The Dubai World Cup meeting is on Saturday 25 March. Lots to look forward to.

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