Godolphin swept four of the eight races on Thursday’s Dubai World Cup Carnival program, including the most significant contests on the night. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Promising Run dominated the $200,000 Cape Verdi (G2) for turf distaffers, while Charlie Appleby’s Gold Town bolted up in the first – and stronger – division of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial.
Promising Run, who beat males in her 2017 bow in the Al Rashidiya (G2) here, once again fired fresh at Meydan. Although recalcitrant behind the starting gate, the Hard Spun mare displayed a much more willing attitude in the running. Jockey Pat Cosgrave engineered a tracking trip, accosted pacesetting Rehana in the stretch, and drove Promising Run 4 1/2 lengths clear. By finishing the metric mile over a good course in 1:36.56, she earned her fourth career Group victory and gave bin Suroor his third consecutive Cape Verdi.
“As I said in the week,” bin Suroor commented, “this mare shows us very little at home in the mornings but produces on the track. We were hopeful, but you can never be confident given the way she trains. The Balanchine (G2), over 1800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) in three weeks, is the likely next target. As well as Dubai, she has also won Group races in England (the 2015 Rockfel [G2] at Newmarket) and Turkey (the 2016 Istanbul Trophy [G3]) so is clearly a smart performer.”
“I rode her at Goodwood last year when she did not like the soft ground,” Cosgrave said of Promising Run’s well-beaten fourth versus males in the Foundation S., “and she was much happier here on the quicker conditions. She shows very little at home but has produced another big performance on the track and is decent.”
Promising Run has also placed in the 2016 Musidora (G3) and UAE 1000 Guineas as well as last year’s Dubai Millennium (G3) and the November 2 Fleur de Lys Fillies’ S. in her latest over Lingfield’s Polytrack. She experimented with a visor last out but dropped it Thursday and reverted to cheekpieces.
Bin Suroor also took the pair of $125,000 handicaps that bookended the card. In the opener on dirt, Don’t Give Up salvaged the yard’s fortunes after favored Alabaster muffed the break again. Don’t Give Up, the 123-pound lightweight, secured a favorable tracking position for Gerald Mosse and pounced for home. Salterin Dubai, conceding nine pounds to the winner as the 132-pound co-highweight, churned on for second, and Alabaster was along for third.
Mountain Hunter, last behind Kimbear on the dirt a week ago, rebounded on turf to top the Godolphin exacta in the nightcap. Angling over from the far outside post 14 to dictate the early pace, the Lonhro gelding held sway beneath Christophe Soumillon. Appleby’s Banksea, spotting him eight pounds and a tactical head start, had to settle for the runner-up spot.
Appleby got on the board courtesy of the aforementioned Gold Town, who stamped himself as a leading UAE classic contender when running his rivals off their feet in the first of two trials for the local 2000 Guineas. Grabbing the early lead with William Buick, the gelded son of Street Cry spurted away from his pursuers at the top of the straight. If not geared down late, Gold Town would have won by substantially more than the 4 1/2-length margin, and in a faster time than 1:25.08 for about seven furlongs.
“It was a great performance and I was delighted with him,” Buick said. “Once I was able to get in front and across to that rail, then give him a bit of a breather, I was always more than happy. He is by Street Cry so you expect him to go well on this dirt surface and he has been training well on a similar surface. He felt like there was improvement to come and a natural on the dirt.”
Gold Town beat the eventual Coventry (G2) near-misser, Headway, on debut at Newbury but subsequently lost the plot with a trio of unplaced efforts. Gelded over the summer, he won a Newmarket nursery in his second start since the operation and now made it two straight.
Out of the Group 2-placed stakes victress Pimpernel (a daughter of Invincible Spirit), Gold Town hails from the family of champion turf mare Dank and Group 1-winning highweights Eagle Mountain and Sulk.
The second trial cast Gold Town in an even better light when the victorious El Chapo clocked a full second slower, despite a stretch tussle. Making his first start for trainer and new co-owner Fawzi Nass, as a gelding, and adding blinkers, El Chapo prompted the pace set by bin Suroor’s Racing History and wore him down late.
“He was tough and brave,” winning rider Luke Morris said of the Lethal Force sophomore, who thwarted a bin Suroor four-timer. “When I needed him to help me close home, he really dug deep. I was very pleased going to the start as he seemed to love the surface which filled me with a lot of confidence as his pedigree suggested dirt would suit him. I think my horse has needed that run and will improve as he was getting tired, but his attitude has seen him home. It was a long way back to the third, so hopefully it was a good performance.”
El Chapo was purchased out of Richard Fahey’s yard for 58,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale. He’d concluded his juvenile campaign with back-to-back scores in Catterick nurseries, so his Meydan (and dirt) debut served up a hat trick.
Nass was notching a double after Los Barbados wired the about 1 3/4 mile turf handicap worth $160,000. Jockey Adrie de Vries judged the pace to perfection to nick it from Prince of Arran and the Godolphin mare Natural Scenery, who made eye-catching progress late.
Los Barbados was stepping up off a troubled fourth to Golden Wood, going about 1 1/2 miles, on the Carnival’s opening night.
Fellow Bahraini horseman Jaber Ramadhan captured the $125,000 turf sprint handicap with Dutch Masterpiece, also returning from a solid performance at the Carnival opener. Third to Ertijaal and Hit the Bid last out, the veteran was always prominent here and held on gamely for Pat Smullen in a tight finish. Jordan Sport came up a neck shy of giving Nass a treble, and Yard Line and Out Do were likewise close at the line. Australian shipper Shaf was unable to duplicate last week’s success of stablemate Faatinah, showing brief speed but folding to 13th of 14.
The non-Carnival event, a $60,000 handicap over a metric mile on dirt, went to Claim the Roses. Trained by Salem bin Ghadayer and ridden by Mickael Barzalona, he gave runner-up Sea Skimmer seven pounds.