Dubai World Cup: Isolate lives up to his name in Godolphin Mile

The Doug Watson-trained five-year-old powered through the field and won the Godolphin Mile by a stunning margin of five-and-a-half lengths

By Joy Chakravarty

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Isolate, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, wins the Godolphin Mile at Meydan. — Photo by Neeraj Murali.
Isolate, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, wins the Godolphin Mile at Meydan. — Photo by Neeraj Murali.

Published: Sat 25 Mar 2023, 8:05 PM

Last updated: Sat 25 Mar 2023, 9:18 PM

Living up to his name, Isolate completely isolated himself from rest of the field. When he breezed past the finish line, there was nobody else in the frame.

With an imperious performance in which his win was never in doubt, the Doug Watson-trained five-year-old powered through the field and won the Godolphin Mile by a stunning margin of five-and-a-half lengths.


The win was special in more ways that one. It all but secured Watson the Champion Trainer of the Year honour. He was one win ahead of Bhupar Seemar coming into the Dubai World Cup night, and the Godolphin Mile triumph, all but sealed his crown.

And then there was the American jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Racing at Meydan for the first time, it was one-for-one for the 28-year-old, who has 58 wins this year and secured the 2019 Preakness Cup riding War of Will.


Isolate broke well in 1,600m dirt test to secure early lead and then opened a clear advantage in the turn before completing the race in 1:35.71.

Isolate connections and officials at the presentation ceremony. — Photo by Shihab
Isolate connections and officials at the presentation ceremony. — Photo by Shihab

Japanese horse Bathrat Leon, last year’s Godolphin Mile winner, and Japanese compatriot Win Carnelian, were trying hard to keep up with the champion, but both faded away at the finishing stretch, making way for Bhupat Seemar’s slow-starting Law of Peace and Atletico El Culano.

Earlier, in August last year, Gaffalione had also guided Isolate to a win in the restricted Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, before the trip to Dubai, which also produced two runner-up finishes under Pat Dobbs in group stakes at Meydan.

A delighted Gaffalione said: “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s everything that I have dreamt of and some more.

“I felt it going into the gate. He gave me this unbelievable feeling. He always breaks a step slow, but when I asked him he had so much power and the plan worked perfectly. That was amazing.

“I was supposed to ride here with Sir Winston in 2020 but obviously, it didn’t go ahead. I’ve always dreamed of winning here and to have achieved it, it’s so special.”

Watson, who volunteered in the inaugural Dubai World Cup and was in-charge of ambulance services, was full of praise for Isolate.

“His temperament is tremendous. Unbelievable. And you know, he’s big and long. So, you saw the way he broke…he didn’t quite just shoot out of there. You have to ride a little bit but once he gets into his stride, he’s pretty amazing. I’m just thrilled for Sheikh Rashid (bin Humaid al Nuaimi) and the whole team at home.,” said Watson.

“I have been in Dubai almost 30 years now. The first World Cup, I was in-charge of the ambulance. Thank goodness we didn't have to use it, but it was this kind of a side thing so we could come to racing and watch the first World Cup. And then working under Kieran McLaughlin for seven-eight years was just like going back to college.

“We just had great staff for such a long time and Sheikh Mohammed and the whole Maktoum family has just given us every opportunity. I’m thrilled to be here and thrilled to do this.”

Results

Winner Trainer Jockey

1. Isolate Doug Watson Tyler Gaffalione

2. Law of Peace Bhupat Seemar Richard Mullen

3. Atletico El Culano Antonio Cintra Jose de Silva

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