x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Mendip 'is back to his best' as Godolphin sweep first two Classics

Kinglet contributes to Godolphin's triumphs but trainer is not convinced on UAE Derby.

Mendip ridden by Kieren Fallon races to the win during the Al Maktoum Challenge.
Mendip ridden by Kieren Fallon races to the win during the Al Maktoum Challenge.

DUBAI // Victory for Mendip in the feature race at Meydan Racecourse topped off a successful evening for Godolphin's Saeed bin Suroor, who trained three winners yesterday.

The boys in blue dominated the meeting with Mahmoud Al Zarooni also claiming two, including the UAE 2000 Guineas. Mendip proved too good for fellow Godolphin inmates, Prince Bishop and Dubai Prince, in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round II.

"He loves this track and he loves the distance," said bin Suroor. "I am very happy with him."

"He's back to his best," said his jockey, Kieren Fallon. "I knew he was a good horse."

Mike de Kock's Bold Silvano, who was scratched from last year's Dubai World Cup when favourite due to injury, ran home a two-length fifth on his comeback in the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes.

He was unable to make up ground on the winner, Godolphin's Sandagiyr.

Yusef al Sayegh, racing manager for Bold Silvano's owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa, said the connections were satisfied.

"He has been off the track for 11 months, so he needed that," he said. "We have time to sharpen him up."

A win for al Zarooni in the UAE 2000 Guineas gave Godolphin a clean sweep of the first two Classics of the season.

Kinglet, under Mickael Barzalona, overcame Mickdaam in the Group all-weather contest.

Kinglet will now be aimed at the UAE Derby, but Al Zarooni said there was a question mark over the extra 300m.

Al Zarooni said: "I felt he would stay further, but after this run he was very tired.

"But we don't know if he will stay until we try."

Sahib du Clos continued his ferocious assault on the UAE's biggest Arabian races last night, claiming the Al Maktoum Challenge Round II to add to his Al Maktoum Challenge Round I and National Day Cup victories.

The Saifaldin Deeb-trained runner will now attempt to become the first horse to win the Arabian Triple Crown, by going for the third race in the elite Al Maktoum series on Super Saturday.

The gritty runner, who put in his tough performance last night following a third-place run in Abu Dhabi's President Cup on Sunday, is also to be campaigned for the World Cup Day Kahayla Classic.

"I was so upset with him on Sunday because he didn't gallop," said his owner, Faisal al Rahmani.

"I decided to put him in this race because that run on Sunday was just like a training gallop to him.

"I would like to retire him as a stallion and so it would be great if he could win the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge and then go for the Kahayla Classic."