Dubai World Cup Carnival: With The Moonlight clinches Balanchine Stakes

The four-year-old daughter of Frankel scored a commanding 4.5 length victory over Lyrical Poetry


James Jose

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With The Moonlight wins the Balanchine Stakes. — Photo by Neeraj Murali
With The Moonlight wins the Balanchine Stakes. — Photo by Neeraj Murali

Published: Sat 25 Feb 2023, 4:45 PM

It has really been a carnival of racing with top class horses on show over the past seven weeks, so to speak. And as the curtains came down on the eighth and final Dubai World Cup Carnival on Friday, With The Moonlight lit up the Meydan sky.

Three weeks after landing the Cape Verdi, Godolphin filly With The Moonlight surged to a stellar victory in the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes, the highlight of the night at the spectactular Meydan Racecourse.

Saddled by top notch British handler Charlie Appleby and the mount of William Buick, the four-year-old daughter of Frankel kicked into gear with 300 metres left to play out in the turf contest for fillies and mares over nine furlongs, for a commanding 4.5 length victory over Lyrical Poetry.

The race acts as a pointer to the $6 million Dubai Turf on Dubai World Cup night on March 25.

Iron Butterfly was quick off the starting gates but Lyrical Poetry slipped into the lead after 1000 metres. And it stayed that way with 500 metres left with With The Moonlight in touch in second.

As the eight runners headed into the home stretch, Buick asked for more and With The Moonlight responded in sensational style, leaving the rest of the field to jostle for second best.

Lyrical Poetry and Ascot Brass jousted at the post with the former edging it by a short head.

It was a sixth win in 11 starts for With The Moonlight, who won the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks apart from runner-up finishes in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks and Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, during her North American campaign last season.

"She came home for the Cape Verdi. The nine furlongs suited her better than the mile. She is getting the hang of it. She started well last year and she has improved. She has a good bit of class and she's a real joy to deal with," Buick, gushed about With The Moonlight.

It turned out to be a fine night for Godolphin with the racing operation notching a double after record nine-time Dubai World Cup-winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor saddled Mawj to victory in the Jumeirah Fillies Guineas, under Daniel Tudhope.

And yet again, it was a utterly dominant win with Mawj racing away to a 8.5 lengths victory over stablemate Fairy Cross, in the eight-furlong affair on turf.

"Her first ride in the mile and she has got plenty of speed. She quickened up nice. It was better ground today (Friday) as well so that probably made her look even better. She's a nice filly," said Tudhope.

Meanwhile, ace Emirati handler Saeed bin Suroor was pleased with his charge and said she was one for the future.

"She's a nice filly for the future," said bin Suroor.

The evening got underway with Ah Jeez, trained by Doug O'Neill and the ride of Buick, making a great debut on the dirt surface by winning the Al Karama Stakes, a seven-furlong contest.

"It was straightforward. It was his first start on dirt ever and he adapted to racing on dirt really well," said Buick.

He just just outside the lead and outside the kickback and he did it the way the way he wanted to," he added.

Race 2, a 1200-metre handicap was won by Colour Up, with the Mehmas five-year-old running out a 5.5-length winner over Vasari, for multiple UAE Champion Trainer Doug Watson.

"He looked a lot relaxed and better tonight. He quickened up like a very good horse. He is getting stronger and stronger and we can look forward to next year," jockey Patrick Dobbs said.

Meanwhile, winning handler Watson felt that the Dubai World Cup could be a tad too near for Colour Up.

"He looks like a horse who is on his way up," said Watson,

"I would love to see how he progresses next year. The Dubai World Cup may be too early for him," he added.


Race 1: Al Karama Stakes, 1400m, Dirt

Winner: Ah Jeez

Race 2: Defender 90 Handicap, 1200m, Dirt

Winner: Colour Up

Race 3: Defender 110 Handicap, 1400m, Turf

Winner: Taamol

Race 4: Jumeirah Fillies Guineas, 1600m, Turf

Winner: Mawj

Race 5: Group 2 Balanchine Stakes, 1800m, Turf

Winner: With The Moonlight

Race 6: Jumeirah Derby, 2000m, Turf

Winner: Sharar

Race 7: Defender 75th Limited Edition Handicap, 1600m, Dirt

Winner: Street Mood

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