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Dubai World Cup Carnival: Doyle in hat-trick mode as Appleby dominates, again

Epsom Derby-winning handler Appleby captured the feature race on the card, the G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes with Royal Fleet, and followed it up for good measure by taking the $200,000 Jumeirah Derby, the evening’s richest race, with Nations Pride



Fight to the finish: Royal Fleet and James Doyle (white cap) hold on for victory over Godolphin stablemate Star Safari in the Dubai Millennium Stakes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan on Friday. — Dubai Racing Club
Fight to the finish: Royal Fleet and James Doyle (white cap) hold on for victory over Godolphin stablemate Star Safari in the Dubai Millennium Stakes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at Meydan on Friday. — Dubai Racing Club

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 12:40 AM

Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby continued his relentless pursuit of fortunes at the Dubai World Cup Carnival as stable jockey James Doyle hit a purple patch booting home a hat-trick of winners, his first for the year.

Just as he has done at previous Carnival meetings, Epsom Derby-winning handler Appleby captured the feature race on the card, the G3 Dubai Millennium Stakes with Royal Fleet, and followed it up for good measure by taking the $200,000 Jumeirah Derby, the evening’s richest race, with Nations Pride.

Both winners were ridden by Doyle who looked to be at his skillful best in the Godolphin white cap, worn by the rider of the stable’s second string.

However, given Godolphin’s embarrassment of riches, it was not surprising to see lesser fancied horses come to the fore and stake a claim for tickets to the forthcoming bigger targets.

Royal Fleet in particular caught the eye, displaying a fighting spirit to deny his higher regarded stable companion, and defending champion, Star Safari (Andrea Atzeni) for a shorthead victory.

Godolphin has won nine of the previous 11 editions of the ten-furlong contest with stars like Hunter’s Light and Ghaiyyath and the winner looks destined for better things to come.

“He was the horse coming into the race who had that profile, younger horse, younger legs, and therefore hopefully there was a bit more scope to go forward with him,” said Appleby.

“To be fair to the horse, he is learning on the job. He is a work in progress and I am pleased with the performance. We will take him back to the UK now and hopefully, he can build on this.”

Another Godolphin youngster who looks to have a bright future is the beautifully named Nations Pride, who was notching a third career victory and this time in the prestigious first-running of the Jumeirah Derby.

Unlike in the previous race, Doyle did not have to work extra hard as the powerful son of Teofilo comfortably stretched out to score by three and a quarter lengths from Bahraini’s Sed Maarib, with favourite New Kingdom running on for third.

James Doyle said: “Nations Pride was quite fresh and this should settle him down. He was a little raw on the turn and got a bit lost but warmed into it nicely and knuckled down well when he felt the second coming to join him.

“He will have to keep progressing to run in the races that he has ahead of him but he has the right mindset and there is no reason why he can’t.”

Doyle began the day picking up a spare ride on the Bhupat Seemar-trained Summer Is Tomorrow and seized the opportunity with both hands to coast home an eight and a quarter length winner of the Al Karama Stakes, another new race of the season.

Doyle, and later in the evening Antonio Fresu, were sitting in for Seemar’s stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea who is down with the Covid.

“I’m sorry for what has happened to Tadhg, we’re really good friends, so it’s disappointing he’s not here today,” said the Italian who is posing a live threat to the Irish rider’s title pursuit.

Meanwhile, top American handler Doug O’Neill scored a fourth Dubai success with Notre Dame in the Lincoln Aviator handicap while French speedball Batwaan picked up his second win of the campaign with a battling victory in the Lincoln Nautilus handicap.


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