Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Super Saturday: Trainer lauds 'amazing horse' Capezzano after Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round 3 victory

Five year old destroys field containing 2018 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow

Jockey Mickael Barzalona on-board Capezzano after winning the Maktoum Challenge Round 3 at Meydan on Super Saturday. Erika Rasmussen for The National
Jockey Mickael Barzalona on-board Capezzano after winning the Maktoum Challenge Round 3 at Meydan on Super Saturday. Erika Rasmussen for The National

Capezzano has a "big future" ahead of him according to his trainer after he romped home a convincing winner to clinch Super Saturday's Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round 3 at Meydan.

Jumping out of a wide draw from Gate 9, Mickael Barzalona raced Capezzano to the front and then pulled away from the top of the stretch to win by nine and-a-half lengths for his biggest career prize.

It was also the first winner for his Emirati trainer Salem bin Ghadayer since his return from a one-year ban after one of his horses was found to have run with a prohibited substance in its system at Jebel Ali in January 2018.

“He’s an honest horse,” Bin Ghadayer said of the five-year-old Capezzano, who destroyed a strong field that included the 2018 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow, who finished second.

“Even when he won over a mile he ran an amazing race. We thought why not try him over 10 furlongs?

“This horse really is amazing when he decides to run. His problem is he’s a little bit of a tricky horse and he needs to keep calm and relaxed. He has a big future.”

Christophe Soumillon moved Thunder Snow alongside Capezzano on the back stretch of the on the Meydan dirt. However, neither jockey or horse had any response to Capezzano’s blistering turn of foot on the final stretch.

It was Capezzano's third successive victory and the first time over the step up in distance of 2,000 metres.

“I wasn’t very confident about the longer trip, but Salem told me to try it,” winning jockey Mickael Barzalona.

“I made a strong effort to lead the race and I was lucky he was breathing well in the [middle] of the race. Just before I asked him to go, the last three furlongs, he really picked up nicely.”

Soumillon, who rode Thunder Snow to victory in the Dubai World Cup last year, said he was happy with second place, a position he occupied 12 months ago too.

“The winner, I knew before the race that he would be tough if he got into the lead with a steady pace and that’s exactly what he did,” said the 10-time French champion jockey.

“I’m very happy with Thunder. He always improves from his runs. If you look at last year, at the same period of the season, [this effort] was even better than then. I’m very confident with him.”

“He got tired, just like we said before the race,” said Saeed bin Suroor, the trainer of Thunder Snow.

He will improve from the race and will be ready for World Cup night. He’ll be fine

“He will improve from the race and will be ready for World Cup night. He’ll be fine.”

Though they came up short in the feature race Godolphin racked up four winners on the seven-race card.

Charlie Appleby saddled a treble and Dream Castle won the concluding Group 1 Jebel Hatta for Bin Suroor.

Appleby won the Listed Al Bastakiya, the UAE Derby trial, with the filly Divine Image, the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint with Blue Point, and Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold with Old Persian.

The UAE champion trainer Doug Watson saddled two winners. Stable jockey Pat Dobbs guided Drafted to victory in the opening race, the Mahab Al Shimaal Group 3, and Muntazah won the fourth race in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, ridden by the owner’s first jockey Jim Crowley.

Muntazah made all the running from Gate 1 to win by 10 lengths from Turkish raider Good Curry in a new record time of 1 minute 34.99 seconds over the 1,600m distance.

“I thought he was the best horse in the race,” Watson said of the six-year-old Muntazah.

“I told Jim: ‘if you break well, go.’ He got out there and set a nice pace. When he was turning in, I thought we were in good shape.

“He’s a very good horse. He’s a big horse who needs his racing and he’s doing it well. He was able to dictate and get into his stride. He’s a miler. Maybe next year, if we get a chance to stretch him out, we could go [down] the World Cup route.”

Updated: March 9, 2019 08:50 PM

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