Dubai: Thursday’s UAE 1000 Guineas, the first Classic of the season, looked a competitive race on paper, but Godolphin’s Ihtimal turned it into a one horse race when storming home a three and a quarter length winner.
Ihtimal ensured Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour continued his dominance of the 1600m All-Weather contest, a race he has won no less than eight times since it was first held in 2001.
Mike de Kock’s Mensoor finished runner-up under Belgian ace Christophe Soumillon, with Charlie Appleby’s Feedyah third a head clear of stable companion Wedding Ring. “She’s improving all the time and we’ll take her to the UAE Oaks (G3, February 27),” said Bin Surour. “The UAE Derby is under consideration, but she’ll probably head to Newmarket for the Qipco 1000 Guineas (May 4).”
British bookmakers William Hill acted swiftly to cut Ihtimal’s odds to 16-1 for the British Classic with Ladbokes going as low as 12.
Andre Fabre’s exciting Oh So Sharp Stakes (G3) winner Miss France heads the market at 5-1.
Meanwhile, Irish trained He’s No Saint marked himself as one to watch on the UAE Derby (G2) trail when delivering a rattling run under regular rider Fergal Lynch to win the Listed Meydan Classic Trial Sponsored by Cepsa, an IPIC Empowered Company Stakes over a 1600m on Turf.
Trained by David Marnane at his thriving Temple House Stables in County Tipperary, the three-year-old colt comfortably held off a classy field to score by two lengths from the Doug Watson-trained Make It Reel while Najm Suail, ridden by Royston Ffrench for retaining trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe, was a neck back in third.
Marnane, who was previously based in the UAE where he enjoyed stints with Kiaran McLaughlin and Doug Watson at the Red Stables in the Metropolitan area, saddled Elleval to win the Trial twelve months ago, en route to a fourth place finish in the race itself.
Lynch was delighted with the result and said: “He’s a horse with a lot of heart. I knew that he’s genuine and he would stay the trip, which he did very well in the end. Everything we’re run has run well this season and we’re pretty excited.”
Earlier in the evening Emirati handler Majed Al Jahouri saddled Rabbah De Carrere to claim his first success in Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G1) Empower by IPIC.
The winner was given a terrific ride by big-race jockey Silvestre De Sousa to deny the Erwan Charpy trained Versac PY by a length and a half. “He’s still learning and I think that he can get better with more race experience like today,” said the handler. “We will probably look at the HH The President Cup at Abu Dhabi next and after that Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge.
“But his main target for the season will be the Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night. That’s what we are aiming for.” Charpy, who won Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge in 2011 with Santhal was pleased with the run of Versac PY but felt that his star’s chances were ruined by the slow pace.
“He just didn’t enjoy the trip, they were going so slow,” said the Frenchman. “Paul (Hanagan) had no choice but to bring him wide on the outside to get into position, but once the winner went four lengths clear we were always going to play catch-up which is very tough with Arabians. Versac did try and managed to close the gap to less than two lengths, but that was a much as he could do.
“We’ll bring him back for the third round with the Kahayla Classic as his principal target.”