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Home > Horse Racing
Animal Kingdom triumphs in Dubai World Cup

Alex Leach / 31 March 2013

Fillies mixed with frilly frocks at the Dubai World Cup as anthe USA ended a wretched cup record when Animal Kingdom sprung well clear of the competition to take out the major run of the most lucrative race in the world.

At the culmination of a thrilling 18th Dubai World Cup, the American raider emerged on the shoulder of long-time leader Royal Delta approaching the home straight and never looked back thereafter, responding well to jockey Joel Rosario to win this $10 million race over 2,000 metres on the all-weather Tapeta surface in 2:03.21s.

GALLOPING TO GLORY - Animal Kingdom, ridden by Joel Rosario, races to victory and (right) His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, presents the Dubai World Cup trophy to winning owner John Messara at Meydan on Saturday. — KT photos by Shihab and M Sajjad

Animal Kingdom’s victory was the first for a US horse since the competition switched to its current premises in 2010 and ninth overall in the tournament’s almost two-decade history.

“I knew we had a chance,” said Rosario. “I’ve never been here before; this is my first time. I watched a lot of races. I had an idea of where I needed to go from.

“I listened to my trainer (Graham Motion) and my horse. He’s a very good horse. He did it. He’s very quick. It seemed like a long way home in the stretch.

There was a lot at stake for those competing, but visitors also had the chance to walk away winners in the style showdowns, with awards for the ‘Most Creative Hat’, ‘Best Dressed Man’, ‘Best Dressed Couple’, ‘Most Elegant Lady’ and ‘Best Dressed Lady and Hat’. Five-time visitor Katharina Dietrich, from Germany, wore a UAE-themed ensemble with an outfit dominated by the country’s national flag colours of black, green, red and white.

“I like the United Arab Emirates and Arabic people and this dress is out of respect,” she said. “I like the people, who have good hearts, and the atmosphere here.”

The $500 kimono-clad Ayami Wada, of Japan, said: “I love it. Four Japanese horses are running today, so I’m here to cheer them on.

“I bought this kimono in my country because it’s difficult to buy this here in Dubai. I’m really looking forward to the fireworks. Last time, I saw an airplane, so it was very exciting.”

Meanwhile, English trainer Ed Dunlop’s runner Red Cadeaux stayed on gamely to finish as the runner-up, with the UK-based Planteur coming home in third position for the second year in succession.

Red Cadeaux’s jockey Gerald Mosse commented: “This horse never ceases to amaze me. To run second in the Dubai World Cup and get within two lengths of Animal Kingdom, I’ve got to be happy with that.”

Side Glance strengthened still further the British representation inside the top four, while the fifth-placed African Story was the highest Godolphin runner in the final reckoning.

Andrew Balding, Side Glance’s trainer, stated: “We’re delighted. We’re really pleased that he seemed to handle the surface well and he has doubled his prize money earnings in one night.

Meandre, who was recently bought by the Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, was sixth and two Godolphin runners — Hunter’s Light (seventh) and Kassiano (ninth) — sandwiched Treasure Beach in eighth.

A major disappointment for the stable was the withdrawal of last year’s winner Monterosso after trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni noticed a “small problem” with his left foreleg, according to a statement on Goldolphin’s website.

The fourth UAE representative, last year’s second-place finisher Capponi, trailed in a distant last behind the other two US horses, Royal Delta (10th) and Dullahan (11th).

But, the night belonged to Animal Kingdom, rider Rosario and Team Valor trainer Motion as the Australian national anthem rang round the racecourse in recognition of the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and his co-owners, the Oz-based Arrowfield Stud operation.

The night was rounded off with a fittingly extravagant fireworks show and performance by British soul and R&B artist Seal. -  alex@khaleejtimes.com


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