Benbatl under Oisin Murphy leads clean sweep for Dubai racing operation in Al Rashidiya race before James Doyle powers Jungle Cat to victory in Al Fahidi Fort
Godolphin leave Meydan Racecourse with biggest honours from Dubai World Cup Carnival
Godolphin clinched both Group 2 prizes on offer in the fourth meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday.
Benbatl under Oisin Murphy led a clean sweep for the Dubai racing operation in Al Rashidiya race, worth US$200,000 (Dh734,000). James Doyle powered Jungle Cat to victory in Al Fahidi Fort to win $250,000.
Benbatl was as impressive as he was in his first local start, when he won the Group 3 Singspiel over the course and distance three weeks ago.
Murphy had him to stay behind early leaders Al Sahem and Sharpalo before overtaking them on the home stretch to win by three and-three-quarter lengths from Charlie Appleby’s pair Bay Of Poets and Bravo Zolo.
“I don’t overestimate any horses but he’s bred to be a very, very good horse,” Murphy said about his victorious four-year-old bay colt by Dubawi. “When you are on a good horse, ask him, they’ll put you in place, because they are that fast. It’s more than jockeyship.”
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor would have celebrated a second straight win 35 minutes later had Christophe Soumillon been able to finish first aboard Steady Pace in the handicap over 1,200-metre sprint. But Gerald Mosse aboard Jordan Sport had other ideas.
“We allowed him to bowl along in front and he just made it,” Jordan Sport’s trainer Fawzi Nass said after the Bahraini notched his third DWC Carnival triumph.
The boys in blue did not have to wait long to make another entry into the winner’s enclosure as William Buick made all on the Appleby-trained Boynton to land the fourth race.
Jockey Doyle gatecrashed the next party, the fifth race of the night, atop Jungle Cat to secure the double for Appleby.
“He was slightly awkward out of Gate 6 and we had to make a decision to make early whether I had to try and come back," Doyle said. "But there wasn’t any option do to that, so I let him stroll forward and sat outside the leader.”
“He was a little bit gassy but once we settled we got our position. I gave him a nice breather to him at the turn and he saw the trip out well. We got the fractions right without getting crazy.”
Barnamaj won the middle leg of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge after wearing down the Round 1 victor Paddy’s Day on the home stretch of the 2,200m race.
Beaten by a neck by Paddy’s Day over the 1,600m trip, Barnamaj under Jim Crowley proved he was better over the longer trip by wearing down his rival on the home stretch to clinch the prize by a head.
“It was a good performance,” Crowley said. “The last time I rode him he was racing wide and today I put him behind, and then I had to move around on the back straight. He did it well at the end.”
Godolphin signed off with their fourth winner - and Bin Suroor’s second - when Soumillon on Gold Star came with a late run to clinch the concluding handicap from Appleby’s Walton Street.
6.30pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (PA) I Group 1 I US$70,000 I 2,200 metres
Winner: Barnamaj I Jim Crowley (jockey) I Ali Rashid Al Raihe (trainer)
7.05pm I Al Rashidiya I Group 2 I $200,000 I 1,800m
Winner: Benbatl I Oisin Murphy I Saeed bin Suroor
7.40pm Handicap (rated 95+) I $160,000 I 1,200m
Winner: Jordan Sport I Gerald Mosse I Fawzi Nass
8.15pm Handicap (100-115) I $135,000 I 1,600m
Winner: Boynton I William Buick I Charlie Appleby
8.50pm Al Fahidi Fort I Group 2 I $250,000 I 1,400m
Winner: Jungle Cat I James Doyle I Charlie Appleby
9.25pm Handicap (95-105) I $125,000 I 1,400m
Winner: Drafted I Sam Hitchcock I Doug Watson
10pm Handicap (95-105) I $125,000 I 2,410m
Winner: Gold Star I Christophe Soumillon I Saeed bin Suroor.