Dubai: Trainer Mike de Kock maintained South Africa’s dominance in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort sponsored by Gulf News when Anaerobio produced an electrifying performance under big-race jockey Christophe Soumillon to record a three-quarter length victory at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night.
It was De Kock’s fifth success in the race, which was being run over a new distance of 1400m for the first time since it was introduced in 2000, and an eighth overall for South African-trained horses.
An aggressive drive by former Godolphin jockey Frankie Dettori aboard Mshawish failed to collar Anaerobio, who was recording back-to-back victories at this year’s Carnival.
Pearl Flute, the early leader under Jamie Spencer, stayed on for third, while locally-trained Iguazu Falls finished a game fourth for Dutch rider Adrie de Vries.
Soumillon was completing a double having earlier ridden Alexander Palace to a surprise victory in the Gulf News Classifieds Handicap over 1600m on the all-weather.
The first race of the night also saw a shock as former UAE-based handler David Marnane saddled long-shot Jamesie to win the Gulf News tabloid! Handicap. It was the Irish handler’s fourth UAE success and first of the season.
Fergal Lynch rode a confident race as he scorched home a one-length winner over Merhee, the mount of Soumillon, with Martin Harley’s Masamah a neck back in third.
Gulf News returned to Meydan Racecourse as a sponsor for the second time in less than a week, having also supported Saturday’s domestic card.
A large crowd at the iconic racecourse were treated to top-quality racing and some colourful entertainment by Chinese dance and acrobatic troupes as Meydan celebrated the Chinese New Year and Year of the Horse.
The entertainment programme, a first for this year’s Carnival, featured the famous Thousand Hands performers, lantern and ribbon dancers and the Kung Fu Sword performers.
“We are absolutely delighted to be back at Meydan Racecourse for our second sponsorship in less than a week,” said Duleep George, Executive Director Strategy & Marketing, Gulf News.
“The atmosphere is befitting such a special night as the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival. It’s always a pleasure to come racing at Meydan, where the hospitality by Dubai Racing Club is second to none. I would highly recommend the Carnival as a great night out.
“We look forward to returning to Meydan in March as title sponsors of the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 29 — a race we have supported since its inception in 1996.”