NEWMARKET, ENGLAND // It may have been Abu Dhabi International Day on the July Course, but the afternoon belonged to Saudi Arabia as Prince Khalid Abdullah's Timepiece took the Falmouth Stakes.
Timepiece finished over six lengths behind Godolphin's Antara at Epsom last month but the tables were reversed in no uncertain terms with Timepiece's rival finishing a tame ninth for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
It was a muddled affair, with a slow pace for the first 800 metres set by Neil Callan aboard Saeed Manana's Masaya. Tom Queally always had Timepiece in a prominent position and the pair left no doubt once the tempo increased.
Queally barely had to move to get his mount going and she stretched clear to record her first win at Group 1 level in her second attempt. Sahpresa, the French challenger, finished a meek second. First City, owned by Saeed Misleh, outran any pre-race predictions by finishing third.
Maqaasid, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, finished eighth and was reported by her trainer, John Gosden, to be in season. "They went no-gallop," Queally said. "Neil got his own way of things and I just followed along. The beauty of it was that I was able to keep her on the bridle for so long and then she just skipped up the hill.
"We never made any secret of how we feel about her; she had always had ability."
If the Falmouth was a damp squib of an event then the Abu Dhabi Arabian Racing Stakes provided the entertainment.
No Risk Al Maury and Jaafer were the last two horses to load into the stalls but the duo provided a thrilling spectacle as the pair tussled in the final 400m before No Risk Al Maury edged ahead by three-quarters of a length.
No Risk Al Maury, who has spent the past two years in Dubai, was the champion British-trained Arabian in 2007 and 2008, and after 18 races he seems to have lost little of his enthusiasm.
It was No Risk Al Maury's second victory in the 1,600m race, having won in 2008 when he went on to record his second Dubai International at Newbury.
In eight days, Sheikh Hamdan's star will once again go to Newbury, but his trainer, Gillian Duffield, hinted that it may not be for a hat-trick bid in the International. "To be still doing this as a nine year old is just fantastic," she said. "He is a good miler. He picks up well over that distance but sometimes lacks the gear at the end of a mile and a quarter."