Relive the amazing victory of Monterosso

Sheikh Mohammed dedicates victory to people of the UAE

 

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, dedicated Godolphin's triumph in the 17th running of the $10 million Dubai World Cup to all the people of UAE.

Monterosso, trained by Mahmoud Al Zarouni and ridden by French jockey Mickael Barzalona, led home a sensational 1-2 finish for the Emirati trainer as stable-companion Capponi finished second under jockey Ahmad Ajtebi at Meydan on Saturday.

Speaking to the CNN's Winning Post shortly after ending their six-year drought on home turf, Sheikh Mohammed said: "We haven't won this race for a few years. So to win it really... it's a great, great feeling. Not only for me, but for the United Arab Emirates and all our people."
 
Sheikh Mohammed admitted feeling the pressure during the running of the race which featured 13 of the world's best horses including Prince Bishop and Mendip, representing Godolphin, which he helped create almost 20 years ago. "(A) one-two, finish, I mean when they came to the straight I thought will we win or is somebody coming to catch us? But it's great."
 
Commenting on watching Barzalona standing up in his stirrups and celebrating even before he crossed the winning post on Saturday, Sheikh Mohammad said: "My heart was in my throat at that time and I didn't know what to say but thank God we won it and everybody has won - all the country, Ireland won, France won and that's racing. I'm double happy now."

Asked what his predictions had been, Sheikh Mohammad told CNN: "I feel a lot of competition will be there. A lot of beautiful horses (have come) from America, Europe, Japan, Australia, so you cannot tell. But you know really I aim to bring them all together and to see this big party tonight I am honoured."

Khalifa congratulates Mohammed 

President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in a telephone call on Saturday congratulated His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on the victory of Godolphin's Monterosso in the 17th Dubai World Cup staged at Meydan Racetrack.

The President also congratulated the UAE people on the historic equestrian achievement.

Barzalona, who finished third on Monterosso last year, guided the five-year-old Dubawi horse to an impressive three-length victory.

“I am so happy! It’s beautiful. I was third on Monterosso last year and now I have won the Dubai World Cup on him. It’s the most fantastic day of my life," he said.

Monterosso surged past stablemate Capponi with Emirati Ahmad Ajtebi aboard for a glorious double triumph for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni in the Group 1 2,000 metre finale sponsored by Emirates Airline.

Barzalona stood high in the saddle with his arm even higher as Monterosso won by over three lengths from Capponi.

He jumped off his victorious mount into the hands of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai , Godolphin’s founder and driving force, and they hugged.

Sheikh Mohammed said: "I thought someone would come and get them both! Mark Johnston did a good job with these horses as well, he brought them up very well.

"Frankie Dettori is a great jockey but we have horses running right and left, so we need more than one jockey."

Asked about what he thought of Barzalona's extravagant celebration, he added: "Out of this world."

It was Godolphin’s first victory in the Dubai World Cup since Saeed bin Suroor-trained Electrocutionist with Frankie Dettori aboard won in 2006.

Barzalona, 20, born in Corsica and based in France will soon join the Godolphin stable at Newmarket in England as a retained jockey.

“I couldn’t believe it when no one was coming after me (in the straight),” Barzalona said. “This is a dream. I have no words to describe what I feel right now. “

Asked about his dramatic celebration on the line, he said: “I just had to, I had no choice.”

Irish raider Planteur finished third followed by favourite So You Think.

“I wanted to get a good position and I knew I could obtain that because there was going to be pace in the race. I felt that Monterosso was going well from the beginning of the race as the horse was travelling very well," said Barzalona explaining his tactics during the race.

He said: “When I asked him to quicken he did that very easily - I was surprised that there was no-one challenging me but I would have been even more surprised if they had caught me. I was very relaxed in the race and when I saw So You Think was struggling and I had passed Capponi, I thought who is going to beat me now.

“I am so happy for everyone and the stable. It was a great moment winning and I could not help celebrating. I am very content because it is a great honour to ride for the biggest owner in the world.”

The winning time came in at 2m 2.67s for the 10 furlongs on Tapeta and it was the sixth success for Godolphin in the Dubai World Cup.

Capponi raced in third initially and then went up to be second before striking for home with a half-mile left to go. He was passed by Monterosso, held up in mid-division, with a furlong and a half remaining and kept on well to retain second by half a length from Planteur..

Al Zarooni said: “I cannot explain how happy I am. The whole team worked really, really hard and deserve great credit. I am happy for His Highness and I am happy for all the people of Dubai."

“I am very happy we have won the Dubai World Cup and that we had the second as well. We lost Fox Hunt at the start of the night and I thought that our luck had gone, so I am very happy for the team," he said referring to the incident in the Dubai Gold Cup.

“Mickael did a brilliant job today and I was also pleased with Ahmed (Ajtebi) on the second Capponi who made sure there was a good pace. I wanted Mickael to sit behind because we had Capponi up with the pace. Mickael is born to be a jockey and is a good jockey - he did everything very well," he added.

Atjebi was also full of praise for Capponi.

“It was a great effort. I was confident he would finish in the first three and he ran up to his best. I beat the winner the last time we met but obviously he’s improved and he ran third in this race last year, so it’s great for the team. My horse has come from handicaps to running second in the Dubai World Cup. So I’m delighted with that.”

Godolphin also had Prince Bishop and Mendip in the race but it was left to Monterossa and Capponi to steal the show by putting the pressure on hot favourite So You Think from the 600m.

Al Zarooni was relieved after spending sleepless nights before the race.

“I will have a good sleep tonight because I am very tired. I could not sleep last night and not very well the previous nights too worrying about the race. They asked me did I dream last night and I said no, because I could not sleep. I will have very sweet dreams tonight," he said.

“We have no pressure in Godolphin from the owner, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, because he knows horses very well. He is the one supporting us. If we have lost a race, he is the one who says don’t worry there will be another opportunity. It is a great pleasure to work for him.

“The pressure comes from within me - I am always challenging myself to win these races. Of course there are other horses and trainers to compete with but I am always challenging myself."

Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, declared: “It was a fantastic effort to have first and second - unbelievable. We were hopeful of good runs going in but we could not be confident because it was such a strong field. Mahmood has done a tremendous job and has two very good horses.

“Monterosso had time out because of colic after last year’s Dubai World Cup third. If you watch the 2011 race, he galloped out stronger than any. We have always known he was a very good horse and we have had this year’s race in mind for the whole year. He just needed his last race.

“Mickael has great talent and finesse, doing everything right. Racing is all about having fun and a good day out so he brings a lot to that.

“Monterosso has a wide range of entries, in Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe. He has plenty of opportunities and we will sit down in due course and make a plan.”

There was to be no fairytale finish to the week for American trainer Bob Baffert, who suffered a heart attack last Monday, as his Game On Dude, ridden by the first woman to ride in the race Chantal Sutherland, finished among the also rans.

So You Think finished a half-length away fourth and his rider Joseph O’Brien said he just could not quicken on a surface that was too dead for him.

The highly rated Japanese contender Eishen Flash finished sixth without ever looking likely to get into the finish. Jockey Christophe Lemaire said: “He was nervous in the gate and didn’t start well, but he got a rhythm and ran well during the trip but I was too far back in the trip.”

Equally disappointing was the US mare Royal Delta but jockey Jose Lezcano said there were excuses for her.  “We had a good position but in the middle of the turn the horse in front of me quit so I had to wait a little longer than I wanted to. She gave me a good run at the end but this surface (all-weather) is a little different – it’s a little sticky.”

Centre of attention before the race was the leading US woman jockey Chantal Sutherland who rode Game On Dude who wound up 12th. Sutherland claimed her mount was a victim of circumstances.

“It was a good trip considering everything that happened. The horse next to him was acting up in the gate, so he thought they were going to break (start) At home we break quicker, so he went to go forward and then he sat down. He just got a little frazzled after not breaking so great. Then he relaxed. He was good on the backside, he just wanted to get into his rhythm. So I did what I always do and let him try to get there and I waited. The track is very tiring."

Rulers congratulate Mohammed

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum received congratulatory cables from Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Fujairah His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi and Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, on Godolphin’s triumph in the Dubai World Cup 2012 at Meydan racecourse.

Their Highnesses praised the achievement of Godolphin’s stable in the Dubai World Cup, which has become a unique high-profile international equestrian event.

Sheikh Mohammed received similar congratulatory cables from Ras Al Khaimah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Sharjah Deputy Ruler Sheikh Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Sharjah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi and Sharjah Deputy Ruler Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi.

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