x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

'A night to remember' at Meydan

Ali Rashid al Raihe, the Emirati trainer celebrates the finest moment of his training career at the inaugural Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse.

William Buick rides Dar Re Mi , No 14, to a narrow victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan Racecourse last night.
William Buick rides Dar Re Mi , No 14, to a narrow victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan Racecourse last night.

DUBAI // Ali Rashid al Raihe, the Emirati trainer celebrated the finest moment of his training career at the inaugural Dubai World Cup meeting at the Meydan Racecourse last night, Godolphin's new kid on the block Mahmoud al Zarooni won with his first runner, William Buick celebrated his new job as stable jockey for John Gosden with a superb victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic and Julian Smart made a triumphant return to Dubai by saddling the first World Cup meeting winner for Qatar.

Al Shemali's victory in the Dubai Duty Free was a stand-out result for al Raihe and his stable jockey Royston Ffrench. It was the icing on the cake for al Raihe, who was crowned the UAE champion trainer on the night, with Al Shemali's resounding victory over some top class runners in the Dubai Duty Free taking his tally to 32, two more than the three-time champion Doug Watson. "This was a night to remember," said al Raihe. "I had a great season and to finish with a Group One winner on the DWC night was just mind boggling."

Al Zarooni made a flying start to his career as the Godolphin operation's second trainer when Calming Influence, his first runner, won under Ahmed Ajtebi, the Emirati jockey, in the Godolphin Mile. It was a prize the Boys in Blue were winning for the 10th time in 15 years, and al Zarooni was ecstatic. "You only dream of such happenings but to have actually achieved it is altogether a delightful experience," he said

Ajtebi, who made a name for himself with his brilliant double in the Sheema Classic and the Dubai Duty Free in the last staging of the event at Nad Al Sheba, had Calming Influence in a good lead past the half-way stage and they romped home from the pack. Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, remarked: "What a day for Mahmoud and Ahmed, who gave Calming Influence such a brilliant ride. He is not easy - he can be hot and run free - but he was in control throughout."

Buick, who rode for the Jebel Ali trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam in the UAE season, came with a well-judged ride on Dar Re Mi to win the second last race of the evening, the Sheema Classic, from the Japanese raider Buena Vista and Spanish Moon over 12 furlongs on the turf. Presious Passion, the American runner under Elvis Trujillo, set the early pace until Frankie Dettori made the first move to challenge on Godolphin's Cavalry Man. But it was all over when Buick unleashed his challenge to go clear in the final 50 yards.

The Americans maintained their dominance in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, with Kinsale King becoming the ninth US winner in the past 10 years. Garrett Gomez sent him clear on the home stretch to hold off Rocket Man's challenge by half a length. Musir and Raihana, the winners of the UAE 2000 and 1000 Guineas, provided a splendid one-two for the South African trainer Mike de Kock in the UAE Derby. Christophe Soumillon brought Musir from last to first over the nine-and-a-half furlong distance as Raihana, under Kevin Shea, who had tried to make all the running, stayed on strongly to hold off the Godolphin runner Mendip in a driving finish.

The Al Quoz Sprint, the newest race on the DWC card, was won by Hong Kong's Joy And Fun for Derek Cruz and jockey Brett Doyle. "This horse deserved it as he's bumped into the champion sprinter Sacred Kingdom a number of times," said Doyle. "There is no straight six furlongs back home and that's what he needs. He stays seven furlongs and he outstayed the American horse. Jaafer won the opening race, the Dubai Kahayla Classic, for Smart, the trainer's second winner in the race after taking the 2003 prize with Nez D'or when he was based in Abu Dhabi. "To bring a horse from Qatar and win the first race for them at a Dubai World Cup meeting is a victory for the whole country," said Smart.