Thursday’s third evening of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan was highlighted by the $250,000 Cape Verdi sponsored by Azizi Developments, a 1600m turf feature restricted to fillies and mares, won in style by Poetic Charm. The winner was a seventh in the race for Godolphin, fourth in consecutive years and second for trainer Charlie Appleby, whose Certify won in 2017. The victory was also the second of an Appleby treble. Godolphin would go on to land four on the night that also featured a fine showing by Scandinavian interests, including a resounding victory by Swedish sprinter I Kirk.
$250,000 CAPE VERDI (Group 2)
A 4-year-old Darley homebred daughter of Dubawi, Poetic Charm is a half-sister to leading sire Teofilo who only ever raced as a juvenile, winning all five starts including both the Group 1 National Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes for Jim Bolger. Winner of two of her three juvenile starts, she stepped up last year to win a Listed race in France under William Buick, who is suspended, so James Doyle proved a more than capable deputy on a filly he also landed a 1400m Newmarket handicap in July. Always travelling strongly for Doyle, she made smooth progress early in the straight before sweeping past the same owner’s Asoof, under Christophe Soumillon, with 200m remaining. Multiple G1 winner Furia Cruzada closed steadily to gain third under Antonio Fresu.
Poetic Charm and James Doyle win the Group 2 $250,000 Cape Verdi (Dubai Racing Club|Erika Rasmussen)
“I was a bit short of room for a moment, but once the gap opened, I knew I had the horse underneath me and she picked up in style,” Doyle said. “She has a lot of speed, this filly, and could win over seven (furlongs/1400m), but the extra furlong and nine furlongs in the Balanchine should not be a problem.”
Soumillon was pleased with his Saeed bin Suroor-trained mount. “She jumped out of the gate quite well,” he said. “I was very happy with where she was with the leader in front of me. I took her on the turn and she really quickened well in the straight. She just got beat by a better filly.”
Fresu added: “This one was too short. (Furiz Cruzada) will be good in the (1800m, Group 2) Balanchine (on Feb. 14).”
The official final margin of victory was a widening four lengths and the time a spritely 1:36.46. Completing the order of finish in the global affair was Godolphin’s Victory Wave, Turkish multiple G1 winner Peri Lina, Denmark’s Monza and Great Britain’s Mia Tesoro.
Remainder of Card
Sweden opened their 2019 Carnival account with the dominant victory of I Kirk who, having flown out of the stalls, was never headed when the meeting opened with a 1200m dirt handicap, the Azizi Farishta worth $135,000. Hitting the wire 3 ½ lengths superior, he stopped the clock in 1:12.96 under Carlos Lopez. Kenny McPeek-trained Honorable Treasure, making the earliest Carnival start ever for a horse from the U.S., was a valiant second, closing resolutely in the final furlong and hinting that a longer trip may be in order.
Having his first start since winning Zawawi Cup at Jagersro in July, he could not have been much more impressive, conceding weight all round, and will likely be aimed towards the Group 1 $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News on Dubai World Cup night.
Lopez was victorious on the Susanne Berneklint-trained winner for a sixth time. “That was just brilliant and he did that very nicely indeed,” he said. “It is a massive result for Swedish racing, as he was also foaled in Sweden and he is an exciting horse going forward through the Carnival.”
Second on the opening night of the Carnival a fortnight ago, in a 2410m turf handicap won by Godolphin’s Bin Battuta, the same owner’s Ispolini went one place better in the Azizi Riviera, a 2810m turf handicap for Doyle and Appleby. Settled at the back, he circled the field turning for home and won over Denmark’s game Suspicious Mind, who looked like he could possibly contend, but ultimately was outclassed.
Doyle said: “Fair enough to Charlie and his team, who were sure he would stay the trip whereas I was a bit unsure but he certainly saw that out well and could be an improving stayer. The Nad Al Sheba Trophy could be a realistic target later in the Carnival.”
Appleby completed a treble with a very comfortable victory from First Nation in the Azizi Star, a 2000m turf handicap, when chased home by stable companion Nordic Lights, who tried his best to make all the running under Colm O’Donoghue. Ultimately, he was powerless to thwart the winner, who was providing jockey Brett Doyle a first Carnival success.
A former UAE champion jockey, (Brett) Doyle is now best known as the work rider of Appleby and Godolphin’s 2018 Epsom Derby winner Masar: “Everything went to plan because they went a very good gallop which has really suited my horse. He did that in style and I am sure Charlie has a plan for him, but he should be capable of building on this.”
Trainer Sandeep Jadhav was responsible for three of the 11 runners in the Azizi Aliyah, a 1600m dirt handicap, and combined with Royston Ffrench to land the spoils with Capezzano, a 5-year-old Bernardini gelding who made smooth progress on the home turn before hitting the front with about 100m remaining, passing Galvanize, who lost second close home to Doug Watson-trained stable companion Thegreatcollection near the wire.
“We put a hood on him tonight because he is a very nervous type,” Ffrench said. “That has definitely helped after he disappointed us a bit on his only previous outing this season. For me, personally, it is great to have another Carnival winner, because as everyone knows I had a very bad injury last year and was out of the saddle for a long time. These are the moments that make it worthwhile.”
The finale, the Azizi Mina, a 1600m turf handicap, provided Saeed bin Suroor with a treble of his own—a 1-2-3 finish when Chris Hayes-piloted Desert Fire out-battled Race Day, with another length back to Bedouin’s Story. Godolphin swept the high-five with Appleby-conditioned Key Victory and Fly At Dawn finishing fourth and fifth.