DUBAI // The UAE debutant Balius ran an excellent race to hit the winning post in front for the concluding Group 2 Jebel Hatta race at Nad Al Sheba's penultimate meeting on Thursday night. Balius also provided a first carnival winner for the trainer Abdulla bin Huzaim and a double for the day for jockey William Supple, and the pair should now be seen in the Dubai Duty Free on World Cup night.
Supple had earlier won the Al Bastakiya race on Mubarak Bin Shafya's Soy Libriano. The night arguably belonged to Mike De Kock, the South African training maestro, who won the featured Group 2 Maktoum Challenge III with Asiatic Boy, 30 minutes after Front House had won the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold. Both will now be seen on the big night on March 28, with Asiatic Boy bidding to go one better in the Word Cup itself having chased home Curlin last year.
A delighted Kock said: "We knew he [Asiatic Boy] would go close tonight - despite the awful draw and World Cup here we come. It was the same with the filly [Front House] - awful draw but she managed to over come it. It has been a good night." Musabah al Muhairi's Snaafy won his third race of this year's carnival in the Burj Nahaar, while Godolphin's new recruit, Gayego, made a pleasing winning debut in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shiamaal. Under Ted Durcan, he was a second winner for Godolphin after City Style and Frankie Dettori had won the Meydan Classic.
The only Purebred Arabian race, the Maktoum Challenge III, was won by Tadhg O'Shea on Santhal, and, like Snaafy, carrying the colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, who sponsored the night's racing. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org