Truth the Greatest in Trophy at Meydan

Charlie Appleby had only three runners on the tenth evening of the Dubai Racing Carnival at Meydan on Friday night but that didn’t stop the training maestro from grabbing the featured Dubai Trophy [presented by DP World] with Great Truth.

Great Truth and William Buick (inside) picture Dubai Racing Club

There was a good battle for the 1200metre three-year-old turf contest but William Buick timed it just right, straightening up his mount in time to deny the filly Frost At Dawn by a head.

“He probably needed that run slightly,” said Buick of Great Truth’s fourth on his previous start. “This was a similar sort of race but he’s probably more of a seven-furlong horse than a six-furlong horse.

“He goes through the early part of the race fine but you can see others have a bit more toe than him. Nevertheless, he has a great attitude.”

Buick and Appleby doubled up in the main supporting race, the 2410metre Vazirabad Handicap [Presented by DP World]. Ruling Dynasty was found to be lame after a disappointing run in the DRC Classic last time but bounced back here, reeling in stablemate Al Nafir inside the final 100metres and winning, going away, by two and three-quarter lengths.

“Charlie put blinkers on him just to help him focus and it worked,” said Buick. “When Al Nafir went clear down the back I didn’t think he would stop but we picked him up well in the end.

“He [Ruling Dynasty] is a decent handicapper. Let’s see if he can take any of this form back to the UK.”

While Buick winners at Meydan are as common as camels in the desert, jockey Callum Shepherd celebrated his first at the track when Intricacy won the National Industries Park Handicap, over 2000metres on turf. 

The British-based rider had to do it the hard way on Simon and Ed Crisford's gelding, threading a passage through from the back of the field. Once in the clear, his mount showed a good turn of foot and beat Eye On The Prize by two and three-quarter lengths.

"It's very gratifying to do it," he said. "I thought I'd do it last time on this horse but we were assassinated in the final furlong. He was down in trip, which isn't really his bag, but this will have done his confidence a lot of good and he deserved that.

"As a visiting rider to come here and get rides isn't easy, so to have a winner is amazing. It's a place where you grew up watching the greats."

Syndicates Celebrate

There was an eye-catching winner of the We One three-year-old race when Falcon Of Arabia kept it simple on debut.

Trained by Bhupat Seemar and ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, the son of Speightstown, a $150,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale purchase, was another to dominate on the dirt. He grabbed the rail in the 1400metre contest and always looking likely to hold off favourite Auto Bahn, beating him by a length and a quarter.

“He has to be nice to do that first time,” said O’Shea of the Falcon Racing Team-owned colt. “He has a nice temperament, a good pedigree and he was very professional.

“He was getting a weight pull from the top horse [Auto Bahn] but he’d had a run and we hadn’t.”

Seemar added: “the [Listed] Al Bastikiya is only two weeks away but they’re only three-year-olds once so we might have to talk to connections and look that way.”

The navy and gold silks of Gulf Racing Club are increasingly prominent in Dubai and their owners had cause to celebrate when Condor Pasa took the Dubai Auto Zone Maiden, race two, over 1600metres on turf.

The Fawzi Nass-trained three-year-old, who began his career in Argentina, was receiving weight from the whole field and made it count, coming with a sustained run from mid division to beat the Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained pair of Daahes and Algernon by a length and a length and a quarter.

“Last time he ran on over six [1200metres], so he needed time to quicken today but then did it nicely,” said jockey Adrie de Vries, for whom it was a 16th winner of the season. “He’s a very honest horse, he’s been knocking at the door and he deserves this win.”

Out of luck in the three-year-old race, Al Mheiri gained compensation later on when he sent out Mountbatten to land the Dubai Trade Handicap in the hands of Mickael Barzalona.

The five-year-old was making just his second start in Dubai and had to work hard for the win, outbattling the favourite Wild Tiger in the run to the line.

“My horse has a big stride and even though I had to go outside he was making up lengths which he was able to maintain to the line,” said Barzalona. “Last time out he just got tired so he’s improved today.”

Nevershow Weakness Lands the Hat-trick 

Seemar and O’Shea kept the momentum going in their respective Championship challenges with a double, completed when Nevershow Weakness won his third race in a row.

Fitri Hay’s Lord Nelson gelding has really taken to the Meydan dirt and was ridden slightly differently here, settling just behind the early pace in the 2000metre JAFZA Handicap. It was easy enough as they turned for home, however, and he soon went clear, beating the running on Go Soldier Go by five and a quarter lengths.

“I just kept my nose in there so the door wouldn’t close,” said O’Shea. “The horse making the running stayed off the rail and my horse is very straightforward and doesn’t have to lead.

“He’s quietly surprised us as he just goes through the motions at home, but he loves the dirt and is still on the up.”

Another horse trying to make it three in a row was likeable grey Mr Kafoo, but he failed by a neck to catch Meshakel, who bounced back to form in the DP World Logistics Handicap, over 1200metres on dirt.

Salem Bin Ghadayer’s six-year-old was without a win since March 2021 but put it all together here under Royston Ffrench, swooping past stablemate Desert Safari on the home turn and just having enough left to hold off Mr Kafoo.

“He’s probably lost his way a little bit, but we ride him like he used to be ridden so that if he did come back, he’d have a chance,” said Ffrench. “His homework has always been good.”

The opening Purebred Arabian contest, the P&O Marinas Handicap, was turned into a procession by Unleashed who gave trainer Dr Jaber Bittar his second win in two weeks at the UAE’s flagship course.

Ridden by Richie Mullen, he led from gate to wire in the 1600metre contest and went further clear getting into the straight, eventually winning by a staggering 19lengths.

“We had a good draw [2],” said Mullen. “He actually ran better than the results suggest in the G1 Maktoum Challenge and he has a nice action for dirt.

“He doesn’t have a lot of tactical speed so I was keen to get him out there. He is a progressive horse but I didn’t expect a performance like that.”

The Dubai Racing Carnival returns next Friday, February 16th, when the feature race is the Lord Glitters Handicap, worth AED210,000.