x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Success scarce at Newmarket for Gulf owners despite promising field

Future Champions Day yields little success for Gulf owners

Silvestre De Sousa riding Scatter Dice, left, well ahead of the Betfred Cesarewitch field at Newmarket racecourse on Saturday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Silvestre De Sousa riding Scatter Dice, left, well ahead of the Betfred Cesarewitch field at Newmarket racecourse on Saturday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Newmarket, England // Dubai’s sponsorship of Future Champions Day yielded little in the way of reward on the track for the owners from the emirate who had runners here yesterday.

Dubai’s logo may have adorned various points around Newmarket, but Godolphin’s Outstrip cut little ice by finishing third under Mickael Barzalona in the feature Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, won by Aidan O’Brien’s War Command.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid’s Saayer did not take his chance in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, won by Astaire, as he was taken out of the race by his trainer William Haggas, due to the unsuitably rain-softened going.

The soft ground did not allow War Command to showcase the punishing turn of foot that saw him stride clear at Royal Ascot in the summer. The colt will now be put away for the winter alongside Ballydoyle stablemates Australia and Geoffrey Chaucer as O’Brien mulls his options for 2014.

If there was any consolation for the Dubai owners, it was provided by the success of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed’s Scatter Dice, who won the 31-runner Cesarewitch handicap with a stunning run under Silvestre de Sousa.

Scatter Dice completely missed the break at the start of the two-and-a-quarter-mile event but benefitted from a canny ride from De Sousa, who bided his time off a fast pace before unleashing his mount to win by three lengths.

Scatter Dice had not won in 15 runs for trainer Mark Johnston this season and was considered a rank outsider.

“It was probably a bigger shock for me than anybody else,” De Sousa said sheepishly.

There was also a winner for Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad of Qatar to cap off a fine seven days in which he won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Treve and purchased a yearling at Tattersalls auction for a world record £5.25 million (Dh30.76m).

Al Thakhira, trained by Marco Botti, won the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and was watched by Frankie Dettori, Sheikh Joaan’s retained rider, from a wheelchair as he recovers from the ankle injury he sustained in the lead-up to the Arc.

Before racing, Haggas had taken the opportunity to give Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Mukhadram a racecourse workout under Paul Hanagan as the horse builds toward a run in Saturday’s Champion Stakes, run at Ascot.

Mukhadram worked with stable companion Heeraat, ridden by retired rider Richard Hills, over six furlongs and strode four lengths clear at the finish.

Mukhadram has not run since beating Grandeur in the Group 2 York Stakes in July.

“He floated,” Hanagan said afterward. “I’m very pleased with him and he did everything that was asked of him.”

sports@thenational.ae