A high-flying season took a toll on Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's fine filly, Ghanaati, yesterday, as the red-hot favourite ran out of steam in the Group One Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
Ghanaati subdued by Sahpresa
A high-flying season took a toll on Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's fine filly, Ghanaati, yesterday, as the red-hot favourite ran out of steam in the Group One Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. The 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes-winner was seeking a third Group One victory to round off the year, but was headed by French filly, Sahpresa, trained by Rod Collet and ridden by Dubai regular, Ted Durcan.
Ghanaati's trainer, Barry Hills and jockey son, Richard, had to be satisfied with second while Durcan added another Group One to his St Leger victory aboard Godolphin's Mastery last month. "She had something to prove on paper but she ran on lovely and quickened up really well," said Durcan. The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe may provide the fireworks at Longchamp today, but the race immediately after it on the prestigious card, the Group One Arabian World Cup, is likely to prove just as interesting to many.
Chief among the contenders for the ?450,000 (Dh2.4 million) contest are two Abu Dhabi-owned Arabians - last year's winner, Lahib, owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, and challenger Fryvolous, owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Rod Simpson, trainer of the Group One Dubai Kahayla Classic winner Fryvolous, was ready for anything yesterday. "He looks fantastic and we are pleased with his draw in five," said Simpson.
"Annie [Wise - Simpson's assistant] has been with him the whole time in England and he has been getting star treatment. He did a final breeze-up with his jockey, Daragh O'Donohoe, eight days ago and was spot on." Simpson knows there is talent in the field, including the superb mare, Al Dahma, who beat Fryvolous on softer going at Newbury this summer, but the trainer is focusing on his own runner. "If you look at what you are up against, you end up tearing your hair out," he said. "What I know is that, whatever the others have done, mine is ready."
Just before the Arabians take to the track, Europe's best thoroughbreds come together for the year's most anticipated contest. Sea The Stars, a five-time Group One-winning colt and trained by John Oxx, undertakes the ultimate test of his season-long supremacy as he faces 18 rivals for the famous mile-and-a-half race. Heading the opposition is Aidan O'Brien's Fame and Glory, who ran second to Sea the Stars by two-and-a-half-lengths in the Irish Champion Stakes in September. He will be ridden by Johnny Murtagh, who also gets the nod on Yeats as the eight-year-old, four-time Ascot Gold Cup-winner signs off with one last race in the Group One Prix du Cadran over 2m 4f.
Sir Michael Stoute's Conduit, under the UK's champion jockey, Ryan Moore, will also aim to disrupt Sea the Stars. The French contingent comprises Jean-Claude Rouget's unbeaten Stacelita, the French Derby winner Vision d'Etat, trained by Eric Libaud, and Cavalryman, ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by Andre Fabre. @Email:email@example.com For a full preview of today's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe visit www.thenational.ae/sport