Godolphin’s Ihtimal completes classic double with Oaks romp
Godolphin’s Ihtimal became the fourth filly to win the UAE fillies’ Classic double when destroying seven rivals by a 10-length margin in the Group 3 UAE Oaks at Meydan Racecourse’s on Thursday.
The entire card, worth in excess of $1m in prize money, was sponsored by Meydan Pillar Partner, The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group.
A Group 2 winner in England, where she was also third in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile, she had previously proved far too good for 10 rivals in the 1,600m UAE 1000 Guineas three weeks ago, winning by just over three lengths.
And she was even more impressive in winning the 1,900m UAE Oaks, storming clear 300m out and passing the line ten lengths clear of seven toiling rivals.
The daughter of Shamardal is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who was winning the race for a ninth time, and ridden by Silvestre De Sousa.
“That was very impressive. The pace was not very fast early on and she was a little bit keen but soon settled into a lovely rhythm.
“I did not want to get stuck in any traffic so was happy to be quite wide and she just took me to the front really travelling before quickening well,” he said. “It was a big win.”
Bin Suroor added: “She has always been a real favourite and we must think about the UAE Derby now.”
Bin Suroor’s 2011 UAE Oaks winner, Khawlah is the only filly to follow up in the UAE Derby.
Trainer and jockey completed a double a little later with the victory of Tha’Ir in the concluding 2200m all-weather handicap.
Frenchman Mikel Delzangles saddled his first UAE winner with the ultra smooth victory of Mshawish in the Group 2 Zabeel Mile, a 1,600m turf contest.
Given a canny ride by British Champion Jockey, Richard Hughes, Mshawish was settled in just behind Mustaheel who set a modest gallop out in front.
About 400m out, Hughes pulled his mount clear of the leader’s slipstream and the pair powered clear, opening up a clear advantage that the 2013 winner, Trade Storm running on under Jamie Spencer, could not breach.
Fourth in both the French Derby and St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, Mshawish is clearly a classy performer, an opinion confirmed by Hughes who said: “His European form was there for everyone to see and that was a very good performance. The pace was slow so I was keen to make sure I was never far away and then we really quickened nicely. I was certainly impressed by him.”
Satish Seemar has enjoyed a good season and his string remain in top form, as highlighted by the easy victory of Gold City in the opening 1,400m all-weather handicap.
With stable jockey, Richard Mullen suspended, apprentice, Marc Monaghan was in the saddle and the pair pulled away 400m out to record an easy success and a first Dubai World Cup Carnival winner for the young jockey.
Monaghan said: “He ran very well last time and I was always going particularly well this evening. He quickened nicely at the 400m pole and then ran on strongly and it was pretty comfortable.
“It is great to ride a Carnival winner and the horses are in really good form.”
The Jeremy Gask-trained Medicean Man made it two wins in eight days when landing the 1,200m all-weather handicap under Martin Lane. A winner last Thursday over 1,000m on turf, a course and distance over which he also won last year, he was arguably more impressive this time.
Settled in rear by Lane, the pair made smooth progress to lead 200m out and won snugly. The last time Medicean Man won on an all-weather surface was in March 2010, when he beat subsequent Prix de L’Abbaye winner, Gilt Edge Girl.
Lane said: “I was delighted to be offered the ride and you have to be impressed with the way he did it. Everything went smoothly with a fast early pace really suiting him. As the leaders tired he has been able to run on strongly.”
Gask added “We will miss Super Saturday next week and wait for the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night, a race in which he was ninth last year.”
He was chased home by fellow UK raider Racy, trained by Brian Ellison and ridden by Silvestre de Sousa.
My Catch made it third-time lucky since joining Doug Watson when scoring in the Listed Meydan Classic, a 1,400m turf race restricted to three-year-olds. Never far off the early pace set by stable companion, Make It Reel, Pat Dobbs eased the winner to the front 300m out and they ran on too strongly for the fast finishing Jallotta.
Dobbs said: “I was always pretty happy sitting in second and out of any possible trouble in behind. He took me to the front going really strongly and has then run all the way to the line.
“He has appreciated the return to the turf, though he ran very well first time on the all-weather and he was a Group 3 winner in France last season so the form was in the book.”
Watson added: “We will think about the Mahab Al Shimaal next Saturday but there is a race in Singapore that I would really like to aim him at as he is a decent turf sprinter.”
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