July 23, 2024

Mishriff prevails in three-way Dubai Sheema Classic tussle

Mishriff (left) collars Chrono Genesis in the Dubai Sheema Classic (Photo by Neville Hopwood/Dubai Racing Club)

After relentlessly hunting down Charlatan in the $20 million Saudi Cup, Mishriff did the same to Japanese distaffers Chrono Genesis and Loves Only You in an entirely different kind of race, Saturday’s $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) on turf. The John Gosden trainee employed another set of skills, but the same class and tenacity, to turn a double that promises to be historically rare – if ever equaled.

Prince A.A. Faisal’s homebred had camped behind serious American speed in the Saudi Cup, showcasing his ability to travel at every stage in an about 1 1/8-mile affair around one turn on dirt. In the Sheema Classic, an about 1 1/2-mile tour of the Meydan turf, jockey David Egan anchored Mishriff at the rear, and the 6-1 chance relaxed kindly in his first attempt at the distance.

In the early going, American champion Channel Maker went forward as usual, but an eager Simsir hounded him. Chrono Genesis, the 3-2 favorite, sat midpack until improving approaching the far turn. Mishriff followed her move widest of all, while Loves Only You muscled through on the inside of Chrono Genesis. That trio soon forged ahead of the rest, and Mishriff had to outkick the Japanese pair to prevail by a neck.

Passing his stamina test in a course-record time 2:26.65, Mishriff opened up further opportunities back home in Europe, especially the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1).

“He’s a champion,” Egan summed up. “It was a strong battle inside the final two furlongs. I was just glad I was able to do my job and get him to settle, and we know he’s got an immense turn of foot. He showed that in Riyadh. I thought he had to dig deep today in the final furlong. I thought he was going to curl up on me, but it just shows how good he is. Over 12 (furlongs), if he’s ridden with restraint and put in a rhythm, he could be deadly in Europe this year.”

Thady Gosden, now co-trainer with his father in Great Britain, praised Egan’s ride.

“We thought before the race that if he was too ‘on it’ the whole way around, it wouldn’t be good to send him up there to get position, and that would be for the worst,” he said of the tactics. “So David just dropped him in there, where he’s relaxed, and David just switched him off beautifully.

“He made his move when he had to around the bend and gave him such a brilliant ride to get him to the line. He’s such a tough horse and he’s shown his versatility. He’s a brilliant horse and obviously really talented. Hats off to everyone at home. They do all the hard work and take care of these horses every day doing such a fantastic job.”

Chrono Genesis outstayed Loves Only You by a neck for second, and the beaten favorite’s rider felt she wasn’t quite at the top of her game.

“She had a moderate start,” Yuichi Kitamura said of Chrono Genesis. “I focused on keeping her rhythm and tried to take a spot where she liked. When they picked up at the third bend, she could keep up with them but her reaction was not quite quick enough. She could not show her signature closing speed in the stretch.”

Another three lengths back in fourth came the previous course record holder, Walton Street, who posted 2:26.83 in both the Dubai Racing Club Classic and the Dubai City of Gold (G2). Next across the line were his Godolphin colleagues Dubai Future and Star Safari.

Aidan O’Brien’s Mogul, who at one point on the backstretch raced in tandem with Chrono Genesis, never picked up in seventh. Channel Maker beat one home, the tailed-off Simsir. Berkshire Rocco was scratched.

Mishriff’s resume now reads 10-6-1-1, and with his lucrative paydays, he has amassed approximately $13.8 million in earnings. A classic winner last campaign in the French Derby (G1), he also captured the Newmarket S. and Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (G2). His three-race spree was halted by an eighth in the Champion S. (G1) on ground that was too bottomless even for him, but he’s more than made amends this term.

By Make Believe, a scion of Dubai Millennium’s male line, Mishriff is a half-brother to French stakes scorer Orbaan and multiple Group 3-placed Momkin. Their dam, the Raven’s Pass mare Contradict, hails from the family of Group 1-winning highweight and influential sire Invincible Spirit.