Prince Bishop belonging to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, made a historic landslide victory this evening when it won the $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan dirt racecourse.
The horse won the gold cup and a cash prize of US$ 6 million.
The world’s richest race in Dubai was watched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, a crowd of Sheikhs, senior officials, horse owners and trainers s well as more than 80,000 fans.
Congratulations poured on Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan on the historic, equestrian achievement.
Godolphin’s Prince Bishop (IRE) stunned American favourites challengers California Chrome and Lea to celebrate the 20th renewal of the $10 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates at Meydan racecourse on Saturday night.
California Chrome, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was the 6-4 favourite to triumph in the world's richest horse race, but the Kentucky Derby and Preakness champion could only finish second, one and a quarter lengths ahead of Lea, piloted by Joel Rosario.
Prince Bishop, ridden by William Buick, won by two and three-quarter lengths sprinting clear of California Chrome, the 2014 American Horse of the Year.
"He was slow away from the gate but we worked our way out down the back - we had a lot of ground to make up," said jubilant jockey Buick. "He's a very tough horse. He's got a huge heart and gave me his all today."
The eight-year-old life unleashed the run of his life to give the Dubai connections founded by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, their eighth Dubai World Cup winner.
Running in the colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, it was Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s seventh win.
“It’s a great result,” Bin Suroor exclaimed in between receiving kisses and hugs from many friends who ran to engulf him in the parade ring.
“I knew the horse had the class to win this race. Some horses improve with age, and it’s great to see him win. This is great for me and for everybody here.”
Buick, who just last November signed a retainer with Godolphin, kept Prince Bishop to his task stormed past California Chrome and early pacesetter Hokko Tarumae (JPN)
“I can’t believe it. This is surreal,” said the 26-year-old Buick. “I didn’t look back. I just kept going.”
Buick followed Bin Suroor’s instructions to stay clear of the kickback on Meydan’s new dirt track, and the jockey indicated that may have been the key to victory.
“Saeed and the whole team had a lot of faith in (Prince Bishop) going into the race today. He has a very unorthodox way of racing, so I took him out of the kickback in the back, and when I got onto California Chrome's tail, he picked up the bridle and listen, he ran on well in the end,” Buick said.
Prince Bishop, who had finished second by a neck to stablemate and 2014 Dubai World Cup winner African Story (GB) in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 at Meydan on March 7, crossed the finish line in track record time of 2:03.24 for the 2000m.
It was the fourth time Prince Bishop had contested the World Cup, finishing ninth last year, seventh in 2012 and tenth the previous year.
He is the oldest winner of the Dubai World Cup amd this is his eleventh victory from 28 starts.
African Story finished well back in an attempt to defend his World Cup crown, checking in sixth in the field of nine.
Japan's Hokko Tarumae, with Hideaki Miyuki in the saddle, set the early running, but could not maintain that pace.
California Chrome was tucked in second and saw off the fading challenge of defending champion African Story, the Goldolphin-owned eight-year-old finishing a disappointing sixth, but had no response to Prince Bishop's charge.
"We brushed by him pretty quick," said Buick. "I went into the race thinking that he (California Chrome) could be a doubtful stayer so when I went I was going to stretch my horse and make him work and at the end of the day the best horse won."
The race was staged for the first time on a new dirt track, which was installed to help attract more runners from North America.
Co-owner Steve Coburn hugged the jockey and kissed California Chrome on the nose as his voice choked with tears, saying: “You ran your eyeballs out. You are still America’s horse.”
Jockey Victor Espinoza said California Chrome “ran awesome.”
“It seemed like the other horses were bumping me around in there on the first turn and then on the far turn,” Espinoza said. “He kind of lost his stride a little bit on the (home) turn because the horse on the inside (Hokko Tarumae) pushed me out. That kind of took some of the air out of his lungs.”
Lea, another American runner installed as the second favourite, came home third for trainer Bill Mott, who won the inaugural running of the World Cup with Cigar in 1996.
Racing for the inaugural Dubai World Cup-winning trainer Bill Mott, Lea was bottled up and checked while trying to rally from the rail in the stretch run but he also finished gamely.
“He ran his race - it was a very good race. He was always there for me, every time I asked him. I was on the inside and he didn't like to be there. He kept trying and going. When I turned for home, if I had a little room, I think I could have been second,” jockey Joel Rosario said of Lea.
Japan's pair of champions, Hokko Tarumae and Epiphaneia, could finish only fifth and last respectively in the nine-runner field.