Kavanagh edges out Dux Scholar by a neck to defend his title in District One handicap
Cavalryman rides to Nad Al Sheba Trophy victory at Meydan Racecourse
DUBAI // Godolphin’s Cavalryman landed the featured Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy over 2,810 metres on turf on Saturday night at Meydan Racecourse, running out a comfortable winner under Silvestre de Sousa for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Having won last year’s Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night, that will be his next target in four weeks’ time as he seeks to retain his title in the 3,200m feature, which has been granted Group 2 (from Group 3) status this year.
De Sousa took his time throughout the early stages before asking his mount to challenge 400m out, with the pair soon ahead and in full charge.
“He is a very good horse who not only stays well but can quicken,” the jockey said. “That is a great combination in a stayer and we knew he was in great form as his work had been very good so we were confident.”
Trainer and jockey were completing doubles after Free Wheeling opened his local account at the sixth attempt, winning a 1,400m Tapeta handicap in which he had been second last year.
“This horse loves that Tapeta surface and we thought he had a big chance this evening,” Bin Suroor said.
Tamarkuz, one of the main hopes in the race, unseated Paul Hanagan as the stalls opened.
The opening 2,000m Tapeta handicap was won impressively by Samurai Sword, who won for the first time in the UAE on his sixth start locally and who showed a turn of foot under Mickael Barzalona.
Only six horses went to post and the first half of the race was run at a crawl before the pace quickened in the straight. Barzalona’s mount, trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, stormed up the rail to lead 200m out and won well.
The judge was called upon to split Dux Scholar and Kavanagh in the 1,200m turf handicap, with the verdict going to the latter and Christophe Soumillon, repeating their victory in the same race 12 months earlier.
“The runner-up has really made that tough for us and it was only in the very last strides we hit the front,” Soumillon said. “This straight track suits my horse.”
Trainer and jockey completed doubles with the victory of Sanshaawes in the concluding 2,000m turf handicap.
Champion trainer Ernst Oertel plans to bring Capital Attraction, winner of the 1,600m Tapeta handicap under champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea, back to Meydan on Super Saturday next week.
Runner-up in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar, over the same 1,600m, on Super Saturday last year, Oertel is undecided as to this year’s target. He said: “The Burj Nahaar is the obvious one, but I have always wanted to try him over 2,000m so we will also enter him in the Al Maktoum Challenge.”
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