Horse racing

Dubai World Cup Carnival: Godolphin dominate at the races

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on February 25, 2021

Frankie Dettori performs his trademark 'Flying Dismount' after guiding the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Volcanic Sky to victory in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy at Meydan on Thursday night. — Dubai Racing Club

Frankie Dettori (left) rides the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Volcanic Sky to victory in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy at Meydan on Thursday night. — Dubai Racing Club

Treble for British handler Charlie Appleby, while Brraq lands Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 for Purebred Arabians

It was a Godolphin domination at the races, winning four of the six contests on the card, with British handler Charlie Appleby landing a treble and Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor one, while Brraq claimed the top prize in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 for Purebred Arabians, at the Meydan Racecourse on Thursday night.

In what was the sixth and final meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, in the run-up to Super Saturday on March 6, Appleby Star’s Safari won the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes, the Meydan Classic with Naval Crown and a nine-furlong handicap with Bright Melody.

Meanwhile, bin Suroor’s Volcanic Sky, the mount of Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, ushered in a clean sweep for Godolphin in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, with Global Heat second and Brilliant Light third.

“It is a great result for him and we will wait to see if he is going to be invited for the (Dubai) Gold Cup. That would be the next target for him,” said bin Suroor, who won this race for the fourth time after Ahzeemah (2013), Cavalryman (2014) and Beautiful Romance (2017).

Bin Suroor, the most successful trainer at the Dubai World Cup, said that Gifts of Gold, who had won the $2.5 million The Red Sea Turf Handicap at the Saudi Cup last week, was also an option for the Dubai Gold Cup, on World Cup night.

“We are keeping the options open for Gifts Of Gold and also Volcanic Sky. It depends on how many horses they will invite for the same race,” added the 54-year-old.

Meanwhile, William Buick, who had won this race with the great Ghaiyyath last year, and also handed Appleby a fourth successive victory in the contest, with Star Safari, said: “He is a straightforward horse. He is beginning to build into the finished article now. It wasn’t the strongest Group 3 for sure but they were quite well seasoned horses and it was just a very smooth, straightforward victory.”

The evening began with the French pairing of trainer Jean-Claude Pecout and jockey Ryan Curatolo overseeing Brraq to victory in Round 3 of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge for Purebred Arabians.

RB Torch had set the pace ahead of last year’s champion Bandar and as the field bunched up at the bend, Brraq went close to the rail and made the run for home. Brraq won by 1.5 lengths over Omani contender Al Roba’A Al Khali and it was his fourth victory in 11 starts. It was also Brraq’s second Group 1 winner after the eight-year-old from Mahabb had won Round 1 of the Challenge over 1600 metres and had finished second in Round 2 across 1900 metres, last month.

“It is fantastic. That was a goal of mine,” said Curatolo, who landed his first Group 1 winner in the UAE.

“It is great and for the trainer who gave me the ride, Jean-Claude Pecout, who did an amazing job with this horse and gave me the opportunity to ride him. It is not just me, a lot of people are involved. So, I’m happy to be here and deliver,” added the 28-year-old, who joined Jebel Ali Stables last September, and took this spare ride in place of Adrie de Vries.


1. Al Maktoum Challenge R3, PA Group 1, 2000M (a10F), Dirt, $65,000:

Winner: Brraq

Jockey: Ryan Curatolo

Trainer: Jean-Claude Pecout

2. TB Handicap, 1800M (a9F), Turf, $65,000:

Winner: Bright Melody

Jockey: James Doyle

Trainer: Charlie Appleby

3. Meydan Classic, TB Listed, 1600M (a8F), Turf, $88,000:

Winner: Naval Crown

Jockey: Mickael Barzalona

Trainer: Charlie Appleby

4. Nad Al Sheba Trophy, TB Group 3, 2810M (a14F), Turf, $195,000:

Winner: Volcanic Sky

Jockey: Lanfranco Dettori

Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

5. Dubai Millennium Stakes, TB Group 3, 2000M (a10F), Turf, $130,000:

Winner: Star Safari

Jockey: William Buick

Trainer: Charlie Appleby

6. Meydan Challenge, TB Listed Handicap, 1400M (a7F), Turf, $88,000:

Winner: Zainhom

Jockey: Dane O’Neill

Trainer: Musabbeh Al Mheiri

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