Dubai: Godolphin’s Australian import Long John put down an early marker for the $2 million UAE Derby (G1) when routing his rivals to win the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors on Thursday evening.
A winner of the $1 million Caulfield Guineas (G1) when previously trained in Australia by Peter Snowden, the Darley-bred son of Street Cry scored by four-and-a-half lengths from Emirates Flyer, a winner of the 2000 Guineas Trial four weeks ago, while South Africa-trained Wednaan was a further one-and-a-quarter length back in third.
Long John thus provided Godolphin with a seventh success in the colt’s Classic but a first for trainer Charlie Appleby, and a third for jockey Mickael Barzalona after Kinglet in 2012 and Splash Point the previous year.
“Peter Snowden and the team gave us a lot of information on the horse and told us that he was not a work horse in the morning, so we were a bit apprehensive. But they assured us that we will see a different type of horse at the racecourse,” said Appleby. “Now we know the horse and what he can do.
“Looking at him as an individual, we knew fitness wise he was there, and we knew we had him where we wanted him to be. Thankfully he’s turned it on on the night and we couldn’t be happier.”
Appleby also dismissed any doubts about Long John staying the extra three furlongs in the Derby on March 29.
“I can’t foresee it being a problem; Mickael was happy enough with the way he performed. He sent him early and he galloped out well.”
Later in the evening Russian Soul announced his sprinting credentials in winning the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint over 1,200m on the all-weather track.
Meanwhile, Christophe Soumillon and Mike de Kock won the opening 2000m Ford Raptor handicap with Sanshaawes and they repeated the feat in the 1800m Ford Taurus Trophy with the unbeaten Vercingetorix.
South Africa’s two-time Horse of the Year Variety Club notched his first overseas success when winning the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes, one of the newer races in the Carnival having been first run in 2009.
The winner was ridden confidently by Anton Marcus for trainer Joey Ramsden.