x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Fryvolous is seriously fast

Every racehorse in the world can call upon three Arabian horses as their ancestors, and Fryvolous showed yesterday on the opening day of the July meeting why the modern thoroughbred has such good genes.

Ridden by Neil Callan, Misheer strides to victory in the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket yesterday.
Ridden by Neil Callan, Misheer strides to victory in the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket yesterday.

NEWMARKET // Every racehorse in the world can call upon three Arabian horses as their ancestors, and Fryvolous showed yesterday on the opening day of the July meeting why the modern thoroughbred has such good genes. Owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Fryvolous won the Group 2 Abu Dhabi International Stakes at a canter. The six-year-old, who won the Dubai Kahayla Classic at Nad Al Sheba on Dubai World Cup day, illustrated why he is the highest-rated Arabian in the world with a devastating turn of foot to beat El Rigoletto, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Trainer Rod Simpson had no hesitation in outlining a programme for the winner. "If I have my way, he will go to the big Arabian race on the same day as the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe," the Abu Dhabi-based trainer said. "He'll take in the big Arabian meeting at Newbury in 10 days' time, and then we'll dream about Paris in October." There was a distinct UAE flavour at the Suffolk track yesterday. Abu Dhabi tourism had erected a giant Bedouin tent to greet racegoers, and there were 16 thoroughbreds in the regular racing action which boasted UAE ownership.

And in the first Group race of the day, the Cherry Hinton Stakes, the finish was dominated by two fillies with UAE connections. Misheer, who was outgunned at Royal Ascot three weeks ago by the American raider Jealous Again, gained full compensation for that defeat when winning the Group 2 contest. The Oasis Dream filly travelled strongly throughout the race, and although she received reminders from jockey Neil Callan to keep a straight line, she powered away in the final stages. Royal Ascot winner Habaayib, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, finished just more than three lengths behind in second, while Capercaille, owned by the Crown Prince of Dubai, stayed on for fourth behind Lady Darshaan.

"She's a tiny filly, but she has a big heart," said Misheer's trainer, Clive Brittain. "I would say that she is as good a filly as I have had for a while." It was a bold statement from the man who has sent out the likes of Pebbles, who won the Breeders' Cup turf in 1985, and Sayyedati, who won the 1,000 Guineas. And there could be a considerable amount to come from the winner, as Brittain revealed that there were mitigating circumstances to that Ascot defeat. "She had a sore back before Ascot and for the four days before the race," he said.

"Neil said that when he rode her at Ascot she just felt flat halfway through the race and that it was merely due to the fact she had missed her work." Bruce Raymond, racing manager to the winning owner, Saeed Manana, underlined what improvement might be possible. "We pretty much knew she would win this before the race, as she has come on leaps and bounds since Ascot," he said. "She'll stay at least seven furlongs and she goes for the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh next month."

The Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes 35 minutes later could not provide a similar fairy tale for the sole UAE representative, as Princess Haya's Cosmopolitan trailed in last behind Goldikova. Sent over from Chantilly by Frenchman Freddie Head, Goldikova had a tall reputation to resurrect after her flop at Longchamp in the Prix D'Isaphan in May. Soft ground was considered the reason she finished seventh that day, and on better going she showed the kind of form which secured her the Breeders' Cup mile at Santa Anita last year.

"Lovely, lovely, lovely," enthused Head, whose sister Criquette won this race with the Sheikh Mohammed-owned Sensation in 1996. "She kept on finding something." @Email:griddle@thenational.ae