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Barbecue Eddie too hot for returning Out of Bounds

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's Barbecue Eddie had a significant recency edge over Godolphin's comebacker Out of Bounds, and that proved decisive in Thursday's Group 2, $250,000 Maktoum Challenge Round 1 on opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Trained by Doug Watson and ridden by Dane O'Neill, the nine-year-old veteran also benefited from a textbook stalk-and-pounce trip to defeat Out of Bounds, the somewhat surprising pacesetter.

Barbecue Eddie, who thrives on the Tapeta at Meydan, was breaking through with his first career stakes victory while extending his winning streak to four. Sidelined following his score in a seven-furlong handicap here on March 1, the dark bay gelding made a winning return in a November 8 conditions event, and recorded the hat trick in a similar contest on December 6. The latter two came over this same metric mile trip.

Out of Bounds, on the other hand, had been out of action since his good-looking win in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes on January 7, 2012. Highly regarded by then-trainer Eoin Harty, the Kentucky Derby prospect subsequently suffered a condylar fracture and was not seen again. Out of Bounds was making his debut for Saeed bin Suroor in this spot, the first prep on the road to the Group 1 Dubai World Cup March 30.

Breaking from the rail with Silvestre de Sousa, Out of Bounds took the early lead, in a departure from his former style. The Discreet Cat colt didn't have an easy time on the front end, for he was hounded by Rutland Boy. But Out of Bounds gamely dug in, refused to wilt under pressure, and tried his best in the stretch.

Meanwhile, Barbecue Eddie, who had been enjoying the view of his main rival being pressured, made his move. Staying on strongly, he wore down Out of Bounds to prevail by 1 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:37 1/5.

"His target is the Godolphin Mile -- a race he sadly had to miss last year due to illness -- and we will look after him," Watson said, referring to the Group 2, $1 million prize at this course and distance on the World Cup program.

"He owes us nothing and we will space his races out with World Cup night in mind. He may be nine now, but he retains his ability and has proved this 1,600 meters to be ideal on an all-weather surface he just loves."

Out of Bounds showed plenty of grit and determination in second. Another half-length back came the dead-heat thirds -- Fulbright, the other Godolphin runner, and Rutland Boy. Rounding out the order of finish were Mufarrh, Jamr, Fanunalter, Tajaaweed, Colliding Worlds and Muraweg.

Barbecue Eddie's new career high advanced his line to 60-19-10-11, $1,580,746. Originally based with Brian Koriner in Southern California, the son of Stormy Atlantic placed in five stakes, most notably the Grade 1 Ancient Title in 2007 and the following year's Grade 2 Palos Verdes, Grade 2 Pat O'Brien and Grade 3 El Conejo Handicaps. Barbecue Eddie, fourth in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2008, later moved here permanently. He is now in his fifth year as a Carnival fixture.

Although denied in the evening's Thoroughbred feature, Godolphin celebrated two winners on opening night, highlighted by Sharestan's course record-breaking romp in the Al Rashidiya Trial.

A mightily-promising new recruit to the team, Sharestan was last seen scoring a stakes double at the Curragh in June for John Oxx. The Aga Khan-bred was "85 percent" ready for his Godolphin premiere, according to bin Suroor, and he likely exceeded expectations with his authoritative victory.

Perched just off the slow pace carved out first by Energia Dust, and then by Red Duke, Sharestan cruised to the front in the stretch and went on to demolish the opposition. The son of Shamardal was geared down late by de Sousa, but still crossed the wire four lengths clear.

Sharestan blitzed about nine furlongs on the good turf in 1:47.79, eclipsing Cityscape's 1:48.65 mark set in last year's Group 1 Dubai Duty Free.

"We thought Sharestan was going to perhaps need a run," bin Suroor said, "and the fast ground was a slight concern, but he did it very well.

"Sharestan is a horse I like and I think he will be all right in bigger races," the trainer told Godolphin.com. "He needed this outing and will improve for it."

"Sharestan is a special horse, and he did everything easily tonight," de Sousa said on the stable's website. "He has a nice cruising speed and he won with a bit in hand."

The late-running So Beautiful got up for second in a fine Dubai debut. Now representing the same connections as Barbecue Eddie, the four-year-old had not raced since landing the Group 3 Prix Daphnis on June 30.

Mike de Kock's Rerouted checked in third, followed by Sham Sheer, Naseem Alyasmeen, Energia Dust, Theo Danon, Al Shemali and Red Duke.

Sharestan, a lightly-raced five-year-old, sports a mark of 8-5-1-2, $226,247. After bolting up in the Irish Lincolnshire in his 2012 debut, he came within a head of upsetting Leopardstown specialist Famous Name in the Heritage Stakes. Third in the Mooresbridge in his first Group 3 attempt, Sharestan went on to capture the June 10 Silver Stakes and June 30 Celebration Stakes in his final outings in the Aga Khan's silks.

As implied by his stunning win in the Trial, Sharestan is aiming for the Group 2 Al Rashidiya over the same course and distance on January 31.

Bin Suroor trainees swept the top three placings in a 1 3/16-mile Tapeta handicap, with Royal Empire spearheading the all-Godolphin finish. With de Sousa in the saddle, the up-and-coming four-year-old bested Kassiano by 1 1/2 lengths, and Start Right closed for third. Another Godolphin runner, Arthur's Tale, ran a useful fifth in his first outing for Mahmood al Zarooni.

Royal Empire, who stopped the teletimer in 1:57 3/5, is now three-for-four on synthetic surfaces. A winner over the Polytrack at Lingfield and Kempton, the Teofilo colt had most recently finished second in a September 19 handicap on the Sandown turf.

Sheikh Hamdan also enjoyed two winners on the night. As a warm-act for Barbecue Eddie, longshot Fityaan set a new course record when shocking a turf sprint handicap. Ridden by Paul Hanagan, the sheikh's retained rider, the Musabah al Muhairi charge surged past Temple Meads and zipped five furlongs in :57.10.

Fityaan, who paid $108.80 in North America, had been off form of late. He had not hit the board since a runner-up effort in the Jebel Ali Sprint last March, and his last win came in a Newmarket handicap all the way back in July 2011.

The first Thoroughbred race of the Carnival went to Ireland, courtesy of the Ger Lyons-trained Lily's Angel. Under a ground-saving ride by Gary Carroll, the in-form four-year-old filly punched through a seam in the stretch and had 1 3/4 lengths to spare over the closing Ariete Arrollador.

Lily's Angel negotiated seven furlongs in 1:24 2/5 to register her fourth consecutive victory. A perfect three-for-three since switching to synthetic, the Clodagh Mitchell colorbearer was exiting a 2 1/2-length coup in the November 9 Cooley Stakes over Dundalk's Polytrack.

"We were very hopeful and have been aiming her at the Carnival specifically once she showed she handles these all-weather surfaces," Lyons said. "She is improving and can hopefully continue to do so."

In the nightcap, jockey Tadgh O'Shea galvanized the deep closer Le Drakkar, and the gray unleashed a bold late bid to run down Tamaathul in time. The Abdulla bin Huzaim veteran won going away by three-quarters of a length, covering seven grassy furlongs in 1:23.

The eight-year-old Le Drakkar was winning for the first time in his three-year stint in Dubai. He last visited the winner's circle in South Africa, in the Group 1 Cape Guineas in late 2008.

Notable among the also-rans were Godolphin's Lockwood, a one-paced fourth, and de Kock's Amanee, a disappointing 13th of 16.

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