x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Simpson is hoping for parting gift

Dubai runner, Balthazaar's Gift, is to be given the chance to claim a career first Group One in France before heading back to the UAE for the inaugural Meydan season.

Dubai runner, Balthazaar's Gift, is to be given the chance to claim a career first Group One in France before heading back to the UAE for the inaugural Meydan season, it emerged yesterday. The six-year-old sprinter, trained by Rod Simpson in the UAE and Clive Cox in England, has earned a reputation as a solid group performer over the years. But he has never triumphed in a top-tier race. He won a Group Two on Saturday when Philip Robinson - partnering Balthazaar's Gift for the first time - gave him a dream ride at Newbury on Saturday.

The Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa-owned horse's constantly- improving UK form reached a high as he defeated all comers in the Group Two Hungerford Stakes over seven furlongs, leaving Godolphin's favourite, Evasive, floundering a dismal sixth. Balthazaar's Gift, runner-up to Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Finjaan in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, ran unplaced on the Nad al Sheba dirt in the Group One Golden Shaheen last season. He triumphed on good ground in a turf handicap in Dubai prior to that however.

The son of Xaar eats up the English turf and his spirited style has prompted Cox to take a tilt at the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp this October. "Many thanks to Rod Simpson who trained him in Dubai and suggested he came to us," said Cox, acknowledging the preparation work done in the UAE. "I think he's a top-class horse and we shall now look at the Prix de la Foret on October 3 with him. "All credit to Philip as well for giving him the perfect ride." stregoning@thenational.ae

Regal Parade, the always competitive Dandy Nicholls-trained five-year-old, was runner-up under Nicholls's son, Adrian, while Richard Hannon's Plum Pudding was third. stregoning@thenational.ae