x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Nahrain and Royal Delta look to be Breeders' Cup bound

Trainer Roger Varian is strongly considering another Breeders' Cup bid for Nahrain, and Royal Delta's strong performance has trainer Bill Mott also thinking about Santa Anita, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Nahrain's showing in capturing the Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park, New York, has trainer Roger Varian considering another Breeders' Cup run for his charger.
Nahrain's showing in capturing the Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park, New York, has trainer Roger Varian considering another Breeders' Cup run for his charger.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid's Nahrain will try to better last season's second at the Breeders' Cup next month after she registered a decisive victory in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park, New York, on Saturday.

Nahrain, trained in Newmarket in England by Roger Varian, bounced back to form to record her first victory since winning the Prix de L'Opera at Longchamp, France, 12 months ago.

From that race she went on to finish second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs, Kentucky.

She is now likely to head to Santa Anita, California, to contest the same race.

"It was wonderful to see," Varian said.

"There is a strong possibility that she will go back to the Breeders' Cup. It will be exciting to have another go at it.

"It is very tempting."

Nahrain has mystified Varian for much of the season.

But the four year old showed she could produce something similar to last year's heroics when coming third in a Group 2 race at the Curragh last month.

"We had an inkling as she ran much better in Ireland and she showed improved form on the gallops recently," Varian said.

On that same card, Royal Delta, who was ninth in the Dubai World Cup in March, powered to a nine-and-a-half-length victory over Godolphin's It's Tricky in the Beldame Invitational Stakes.

Such was Royal Delta's superiority over her long-standing rival that her jockey Mike Smith had to ease down his mount before the line to hand trainer Bill Mott his first win in the race.

Royal Delta was beaten by eight and a half lengths by Havre De Grace in last season's Beldame before she went on to win the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic from It's Tricky. Royal Delta will now also head to Santa Anita to defend her title in a bid to give Mott a third consecutive victory in the race.

Mott also won with Unrivaled Belle in 2010.

The Dubai World Cup also provided the winner of the Awesome Again Stakes when Game On Dude confirmed his standing as the horse to beat in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic with an easy victory at Santa Anita.

Chantal Sutherland may be best known for her association with Game On Dude but the horse got on fine without her under Rafael Bejerano.

Sutherland was replaced by Bejerano after she dropped her reins in the Pacific Classic.

Game On Dude, who was 12th at Meydan Racecourse, won by three and a quarter lengths from Nanios.

Richard's Kid, who has moved from the Dubai-based trainer Satish Seemar to Bob Baffert, and then controversially to Doug O'Neill this season, was third.

It was Game On Dude's fifth successive win at Santa Anita.

As a son of Awesome Again, the success was significant.

The five year old will now take his chance in the Classic, in which he was beaten by a length and a half last season by Drosselmeyer.

 

sports@thenational.ae

 

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE