x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Mastery runs out of steam

The St Leger winner finishes a disappointing third for Godolphin in Santa Anita

Godolphin's hopes of a winning start to the Breeders' Cup weekend at Santa Anita were dashed when the St Leger winner Mastery finished third in the opening US$500,000 (Dh1.83m) Marathon. Frankie Dettori had the colt well-placed in fifth for the majority of 1m 6f contest. As they went into the straight for the second time, Mastery, whose way was blocked on the inside, was forced to hook out wide to take on the leaders.

But the three-year-old was not able to gain ground inside the final two furlongs with Aidan O'Brien's Man of Iron, under regular Dubai jockey Johnny Murtagh, claiming a first Ballydoyle win in the Breeders' meet since High Chaparral in 2003. Cloudy's Knight, trained by Jonathan Sheppard and ridden by Rosemary Homeister, was second by a nose. A disappointed Dettori said Mastery was tired. "He has danced one too many times this season. Everything is alright, the whole race went perfectly but the horse just had a long season," he said.

Saeed bin Suroor, Godolphin's trainer agreed. "I thought he was in good form before the race but he didn't produce the form he showed in England," he said. More disappointment was to follow in the closing race of the day as the favourite, Music Note, could only match her 2008 performance in the Ladies Classic, claiming another third for the boys in blue. Instead Life is Sweet, a stablemate of the 1m 1f contest's 2008 winner and Breeders' Cup Classic contender Zenyatta, fought her way out of the shadow of the more illustrious mare to claim the US$2million (Dh7.3m) race.

Music Note had no clear route when the time came to make a break, but when Rajiv Maragh eventually found her a way through alongside Godolphin's second runner, Cocoa Beach, she was one-paced to the line. Cocoa Beach finished sixth. @Email:stregoning@thenational.ae