Godolphin honoured for clean sweep of Dubai World Cup Carnival

The award winners with Dubai Racing Club board member Mohammed Al Shehhi (second right) at Meydan. (PATRICK CASTILLO)

Animal Kingdom brought the 2012/13 UAE racing season to a jubilant close on Saturday evening when he became the first American-based horse to claim the US$10m race since the contest had been held at Meydan.

That closing flourish capped off a season full of action and excitement, centered around the hotly-contested UAE Championship and Dubai World Cup Carnival Championship for owners, trainers and jockeys.

Godolphin emerged as the leading owner for the sixth year in succession, in a season that not only saw the Dubai racing operation claim their 200th Group 1 winner, but also win two races on Dubai World Cup night courtesy of Silvestre de Sousa aboard Cavalryman in the Group 3 Dubai Gold Cup and the impressive Sajjhaa in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free.

In all Godolphin trainers saddled 29 winners in the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival, nine clear of their nearest rival. Other major Dubai World Cup Carnival races included in that tally were the Cape Verdi, the UAE 1,000 Guineas, the Al Shindagha Sprint, the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 and R3, the Firebreak Stakes, the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, the Balanchine, the UAE Oaks, the Burj Nahar, the Al Bastakiya and the Jebel Hatta.

Saeed bin Suroor, the longest-serving Godolphin trainer, sent out both of the winners on the big night which made for 19 triumphs at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, four ahead of his nearest rival, Mike de Kock. It was his sixth consecutive trainers' championship at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Then in the tightest battle of all, Silvestre de Sousa's two victories on Dubai World Cup night thrust him to the top of jockey standings at Dubai World Cup Carnival, giving him one more than Godolphin’s other rider, Mickael Barzalona and helping him to his first jockey’s championship.

The UAE Championship became the talking point of the season after Ernst Oertel, an Abu Dhabi-based trainer predominantly of Arabians, secured the trainers’ title, the first time this accolade has gone to a trainer with more Arabian runners than Thoroughbreds.

The Al Asayl trainer, who conditions horses for the Abu Dhabi Royal family, gained the lead at Jebel Ali, the week before the March 30 Dubai World Cup. The South African went into the big day knowing that a win for Musabah Al Muhairi, could tie the championship. That eventuality that did not come to pass and the season ended with Oertel on 34 winners and Al Muhairi on 33.

Oertel’s jockey, Tadhg O’Shea became UAE Champion jockey for the second consecutive year, riding 32 winners, six ahead of nearest challenger, Richard Mullen who enjoyed Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen success on board Reynaldothewizard on Dubai World Cup day.

O’ Shea, who had last year secured the title through his position as second rider to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this year rode most of his winners for The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

O’Shea’s victories, like those of Oertel, came mainly through success on Arabian runners at Abu Dhabi and O’Shea and the trainer notably won two legs of the Arabian Triple Crown, the Arabian Fillies’ Classic, the Emirates Fillies’ Classic and the UAE Arabian Derby.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Finance Minister, now a ten-time winner of the UAE owners championship by number of victories, has recorded successive championships since the 2005/6 season was out of the winners’ enclosure.

The familiar blue-and-white striped colours were ridden to victory 37 times over the course of the season, a tally that earned the owner the coveted UAE title. Major victories include the Mazrat Al Ruwayah for Arabians, the President’s Cup for Thoroghbreds, the Al Maktoum Challenge R1, the UAE 2000 Guineas, the Al Fahidi Fort, the Abu Dhabi Championship, and the Dubai World Cup day Godolphin Mile.

Sheikh Hamdan’s stand-out horses include Al Maktoum Challenge R1 winner, Barbecue Eddie and the unbeaten Soft Falling Rain.

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