Dubai: Toast of New York became the toast of Meydan after winning the UAE Derby ahead of Asmar and Emirates Flyer, giving jockey Jamie Spencer his second win in a row of the night following success in the Dubai Gold Cup.
Michael Buckley is well known in British racing predominantly as a jumps trainer, but now he is very much an international flat owner after witnessing his charge secure victory in the event sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammad Al Naboodah Group.
This was also a huge triumph for his trainer Jamie Osborne, as the former jump jockey enjoyed the biggest international win of his career.
Safety Check set a great pace and, as they entered the final straight, Spencer unleashed a massive effort and it was all over in the blink of an eye as the giant son of Thewayyouare destroyed the field.
Only Asmar looked a threat for a brief moment but had to settle for second as the winning connections went wild and the celebrations started.
Spencer said: “I am not at all surprised [at winning], as this horse has been doing good things all along. He was in control and very responsive to me. This is a high-class horse and whatever he will do now will be impressive anyway.”
An emotional Osborne said: “Listen, he’s a very good horse when he’s sitting there with a lot of ordinary horses. You don’t quite believe what this horse has done and you are wondering whether or not he is just better than the rest and a little bit better or a lot better, but he’s had great preparation through the winter.”
Owner Buckley added: “Can I believe it? Well, I can because I’m a believer but I would be, wouldn’t I? I was nervous and shaky and that got worse as the race went on but when I saw him at the front, I thought he’d be very hard to pass as he’s got a really high cruising speed. The jockey is a genius. He’s just had a double so he can’t be bad, can he. The time guys at Wolverhampton said the times were terrific, but he’s had a great prep and all credit to Jamie Osborne.”
On the prospect of taking part in the Kentucky Derby on May 3, Buckley said: “Who knows? Let’s just enjoy this for now.”
— The author is a racing journalist, broadcaster and GM of Draiton Feed Commodities.
(With inputs from Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter, and Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter)