Needing a scratch to reach the field, Bawadi was nearly a scratch himself, then road off with Patrick Cosgrave to a new course record.
Bawadi finally catches a good turn at Meydan, sets course record
DUBAI // As a reserve, Bawadi was never meant be a part of the third race at Meydan Racecourse Saturday night, let alone win it and certainly not break a course record.
And once he had got into the 1,900m Tapeta handicap thanks only to a scratching, Bawadi was still a doubt to start after becoming tangled in the starting stall.
But following a shaky beginning, the horse, under Patrick Cosgrave, proved well up to the task, finishing the race in 1 minute, 56.90 seconds, breaking the record 1:57.05 mark for the distance set by Godolphin's Allybar in 2010.
After the horse visited the winner's enclosure for only the second time in his career, Cosgrave said Bawadi deserved some luck.
"He hurt himself coming out of the stalls the run before last and he had to be taken out a couple of times because he has a habit of getting his front foot stuck in the starting gate," said Cosgrave, who has ridden 10 winners so far this season.
"This horse definitely deserved some luck."
It was only the scratching of Musabah Al Muhairi's Red Eyes and Stephane Chevalier's Ashes To Glory that earned Bawadi and fellow reserve, Bin Shamardal, a spot in the starting stalls.
Bawadi nearly became the third scratching after trapping his foot in the stall, forcing Cosgrave to climb off him while inside the gate.
The Mubarak bin Shafya-trained horse was unloaded and required to pass a veterinary inspection before being allowed to rejoin the starting line-up.
Now that he has claimed his first win since shedding his maiden tag in 2009, Bawadi's connections will be hoping future racecourse outings are a little less eventful.
Last time out, the son of Medaglia D'Oro returned to the barn with a cut foreleg after tangling yet again with the starting stall.
And back at the beginning of the season, Bawadi narrowly avoided falling into the inside rail after being bumped during the running of a race at Sharjah Racetrack.
On that occasion, Bawadi, under Cosgrave, who has ridden him in all but one of his contests this season, was still able to finish an honourable third.
"He didn't do anything wrong, he just got stuck in the gate," said Cosgrave.
"He's not had too much luck in running, and so it's great that he's finally got the win that he deserved."
In another twist of fate, Bin Shamardal, the Al Muhairi-trained second reserve in the contest, finished a half-length runner-up to Bawadi under the UAE champion jockey Wayne Smith.
Steven Burridge, the Singapore-based trainer, claimed his second winner of the weekend, and his third victory for four starts, in the US$110,000 (Dh404,000) feature race.
The promising three-year-old Ip Man cruised to a two-and-a-half length victory in the closing 1,400m Tapeta handicap, breaking the second course record of the night.
Burridge said his charge would now be aimed at some of the Carnival's classier races.
"He's very immature but he has shown plenty of ability and we think he could measure up to the better standard of horses here in Dubai," he said.
SPENCER: IT WAS GREAT TO GET FIRST WIN OF SEASON
Jamie Spencer, the former British and Irish champion jockey, claimed his first win of the season at Meydan. The former Coolmore rider steered Rutland Boy to victory for the champion trainer, Ali Rashid al Raihe, in the first race.
"I'd had a few chances but it was great to get a first win of the season," said Spencer, after winning the 1,400m Tapeta handicap on the Abdullah Al Shaikh-owned runner.
Spencer, who was just 17 when he won his first Classic, came close to the winner's enclosure at Abu Dhabi Racecourse in the opening meet of the season, back in October.
"I've had to be patient, but that was a good win, and now I can focus on the rest of the season," he said.
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