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21 April 2024

Godolphin trainer claims both Dubai World Cup Carnival features at Meydan

The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Prince Bishop powers to victory in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 under Kieren Fallon. (DUBAI RACING CLUB)

By Allaam Ousman

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor basked in glory at Meydan’s fifth meeting of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday after his charges won both Thoroughbred features.

After Dubai World Cup winner Silvestre De Sousa swept Ihtimal to victory in the UAE 1000 Guineas, Kieren Fallon capped a fine evening by spurring rode Prince Bishop for a landmark tenth winner in the 1,900m race for the trainer in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge round two.

Fallon, who won on Prince Bishop in England last year, sent his mount for home about 600 metres out.

The pair were chased home on Meydan’s all-weather track by fast-finishing stable companion, African Story, the mount of Silvestre De Sousa.

But they hung on well to break the track record in the process in the $250,000 feature on the seven-race IPIC-sponsored card.

Fallon said: “I like this horse and I think he has more to offer. I really thought I went for home too soon and he was getting a bit tired and a bit lonely but luckily we hit the line in time.

“It was a good performance and a great result for the yard.”

Earlier Bin Suroor won the Listed 1,600m UAE 1000 Guineas for a seventh time after the ultra smooth victory of Ihtimal.

Drawn one, De Sousa settled the filly in midfield before asking her to close as the runners swept for home.

She eased into contention before sweeping past her rivals easily in the main support race which also carried prize money of $250,000.

Winner of last year’s Group 2 May Hill Stakes before an excellent third in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile, De Sousa was impressed.

“She has a bit of class and her only defeats have been behind very good fillies. She was a bit keen early on but I was always happy.

“When I asked her to win her race she did so in a matter of strides. You have to be impressed.”

Godolphin, Bin Suroor and triple-winning De Sousa also enjoyed an Excellent Result in the 2,810m turf handicap when the horse of that name led close home to deny Star Empire, winner of the race last year.

De Sousa said: “They went very slowly which did not really help me as I had to get him settled but he certainly finished well and I was confident of getting there close home.”

Ihtimal’s win completed a big race double for De Sousa after the 2,200m Group 1 Purebred Arabian version of the Al Maktoum Challenge R2, also on the all-weather, went to the Majed Al Jahouri-trained, Rabbah De Carrere.

The jockey said: “I was pretty confident before the race and he travelled really well. I went to the front going strongly and he quickened away nicely.

“He stays well but also has a turn of foot.”

Irish trainer, Michael Halford and jockey, Shane Foley doubled their tally for the campaign with the victory of Eastern Rules in the 1400m all-weather handicap. A good third on his local debut last week, he was produced to lead about 200m this time and held on grimly.

Foley said: “That was a great run last week and all ours have been running well. That was a good effort in an ultra competitive handicap.”

Fellow Irishmen, David Marnane and Fergal Lynch then repeated the dose, with He’s No Saint providing their second 2014 Meydan Racecourse winner in the 1400m Meydan Classic Trial, over 1400m on turf.

The pair won the same contest last year with Elleval, subsequently second in the UAE Derby and both horses are owned by Damien Lavelle.

Lynch said: “This has been the plan all along and he was impressive. I was really travelling well on him but had to wait for a gap – when it opened he quickened nicely.”

Racing concluded with a 1,600m turf handicap and William Buick produced UK raider, Mont Ras to lead close home and provide trainer, David O’Meara with a first UAE winner.

Buick explained: “This was his third run here at Meydan but first on turf and he has really appreciated the switch of surface. I am delighted for everyone as there is a great bunch of owners here with the horse.”