Dubai: John Gosden’s highly-regard Kingman sounded a warning to his Guineas rivals with an emphatic victory in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury, England on Saturday.
Ridden with confidence by James Doyle, the son of Invincible Spirit trumpeted his ability to transform a competitive trial into a one-horse show when powering home for a 4 ½ length success.
Night Of Thunder, racing in the colours of Dubai businessman Saeed Manana, took the runner-up spot ahead of long-shot Master Carpenter, while Godolphin’s Golden Town, was sixth under big-race jockey Silvestre De Sousa.
Gosden, whose stable has been in rousing form, was thrilled with Kingsman’s performance and said: “He’s passed his trial well. I was really happy with how he settled.
“Without a doubt he has the highest cruising speed of any horse that I’ve ever trained.”
The Derby-winning trainer also attributed his team’s success to a happy environment.
“The horses are happy, as well as the staff, and this usually breeds success,” he said.
Earlier, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, got a glimpse into the future when his promising three-year-olds Matalleb and Mutakayyef battled out the finish in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes over a mile.
Dane O’Neill extracted just that little extra from Matalleb to deny Paul Hanagan by a head in the opening race. Both jockeys are retained by Shaikh Hamdan.
Frankie Dettori was kept waiting for a winner at Newbury this season when Al Thakhira was beaten a head by J Wonder, the mount of Jimmy Fortune, in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes Both the principals were given patient rides and Jimmy Fortune started to make his ground aboard the winner passing the two furlong marker.
Much was expected of Frankel’s half-sister Joyeuse who took third, a further length-and-a-quarter adrift.
Brian Meehan was full of praise for J Wonder and said: “I’m really pleased as she has proved to be the filly we thought she was.
“It’s not a shock, not by any means. We came here thinking she had to be in the first three on what we knew of her from last season.
“She was brave as she had to come through horses and Jimmy got off and said he felt she won very easily, she just pricked her ears when she hit the front and just needed one slap to keep her mind on the job,” he added.
“We thought she was special last year and she looked good today. She’s in the French and English Guineas and I’ll have to speak to the owner and Jimmy. We’ll have a proper conversation, put it all together and decide.”
Marco Botti was not disappointed with the result and said of Al Thakira: “She has proved she retains her ability. I think seven furlongs might be her trip, but the French Guineas might give her a better chance at a mile. Ground is the key.”
Lady Cecil said of Joyeuse: “She will definitely come on for the run and she’s in the French and English Guineas. We’ll see.”
Sky Bet cut the winner to 12/1 from 50s for the QIPCO 1000 Guineas, spokesman Michael Shinners saying: “She was clearly expected to run well and you had to like the way J Wonder picked up. Both the front two look smart fillies at the very least.”
The two-day Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials Meeting, now in its 18th year, got off to a Royal start on Friday and was graced by the presence of Her Majesty the Queen for the sixth consecutive year.
Day one was dominated by Shaikh Hamdan, trainer John Gosden and jockeys Hanagan and O’Neill.
Shaikh Hamdan’s runners Muwaary and Zarwaan finished one-two in the Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Handicap for three-year-olds and are likely to meet again at Royal Ascot in the Britannia Handicap.
Hanagan was making amends after seeing Kibaar beaten by O’Neill Kasb earlier in the Al Basti Equiworld Maiden Stakes.
Kasb’s trained John Gosden was delighted and said: “He’s got talent. He’s cheeky but he’s learning and he’ll improve over six furlongs.”
Gosden also sent out the winner of the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup Conditions Stakes when Western Hymn was eased home by his stable jockey William Buick.
Western Hymn has an Epsom Derby but Gosden was not prepared to get carried away.
“This colt is still immature and before we get ahead of ourselves we will probably have a look at something like the Sandown Classic Trial and then start making definite plans,” he said.
The concluding Dubai Duty Free-sponsored race of the day was a sprint handicap over five furlongs and was won in flamboyant fashion by Buicm aboard Lucky Beggar for trainer Charlie Hills.
Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman, Colm McLoughlin, was on hand to present trophies to the connections of the winner of the Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup Conditions Stakes.
Salah Tahlak, Senior Vice President — Corporate Communications and Sinead El Sibai, Vice President — Marketing were also present.