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With Lanfranco Dettori aboard, Khawlah settles back in position to make a grab for the UAE Oaks at the Meydan racecourse.
With Lanfranco Dettori aboard, Khawlah settles back in position to make a grab for the UAE Oaks at the Meydan racecourse.

Khawlah claims top honours for Godolphin at UAE Oaks

Mahbooba was the strong favourite but Frankie Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin trainer, had different ideas.

Popular opinion had it that Mike de Kock's Mahbooba could not lose the UAE Oaks at Meydan Racecourse last night. But Frankie Dettori and Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin trainer, had different ideas.

Dettori piloted Khawlah to victory with Mahbooba under Christophe Soumillon coming a one-and-a-quarter-length second and Electric Waves a distant third.

Bin Suroor, who had earlier won two other races, had cause to celebrate as he was claiming his seventh victory in the Group 3 race.

"She had a good weight allowance from the favourite," said Dettori, who was claiming his sixth UAE Oaks.

"Fifty four kilos to 59 and so I wanted to make the most of that. She developed really well between the ages of three and four and we will now have to go home and sit down and think about whether she will be a UAE Derby contender."

Meanwhile, Mahmoud al Zarooni, Godolphin's other trainer, is set to have a good think about plans for Introvert, his winner of the evening's second feature, the Listed Meydan Classic over 1,600m last night.

The colt had a bit of ground to make up judging from his performance in the Meydan Classic Trial earlier this month when he came home a four-length third.

But last night's three-and-three-quarter-length victory under Ahmed Ajtebi has set al Zarooni thinking along the lines of a possible run in the Dubai World Cup day UAE Derby.

"I'm not sure what's next for him," said al Zarooni. Introvert did not appear to enjoy his single outing on Meydan's Tapeta, finishing sixth in January.

"I think he prefers this longer distance and might get further, but I'm not sure if it is the turf or the distance that he has liked tonight.

"He's confused me a bit so I will have to have a think about him."

He may not have won the Oaks, but de Kock proved that he had strength in depth in his yard when his second string claimed the opening race.

Wonder Lawn, the mount of Kevin Shea, powered to an almost two-length victory over Ali Rashid al Raihe's Yirga in the 2000m handicap.

De Kock's premier rider, Soumillon, opted for pre-race favourite Hunting Tower. But that horse was caught in traffic on the rail when the fancied War Monger, the early leader, tired.

"They went a good pace and with one of the favourites out in front, I just tried to make sure my feller kept up," Shea said.

Bin Suroor, found the key to Bay Willow in the second race over 2,200m on the all-weather, when his charge threw off some unremarkable UAE form to storm to the post more than two lengths in front of Dhruba Selvaratnam's Meeris.

Dettori was in the saddle on that occasion but proved far less lucky 30 minutes later when coming second on Global City to another bin Suroor horse, Charlie's Moment.

The Italian rider will be kicking himself after opting to switch from Charlie's Moment at the last minute when a scratching allowed Global City, a reserve, to race.

Mikail Barzalona took the ride and said he was happy to pick up the win.

"It was a piece of luck that there was a non-runner and Frankie liked the other horse," said the young Frenchman who was riding his fifth Godolphin Carnival winner and sixth overall for the 2011 season.

Al Raihe is never far from the winner's enclosure and the trainer's Mufarrh ensured he paid another trip there last night, coming home a four-and-a-half length winner of a 1900m handicap on the all-weather.

 

sports@thenational.ae

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