More Meydan success for Charlie Appleby

Bin Harmash-Ray Dawson partnership help themselves to a meet double


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Sovereign Prince sprints to victory at the Meydan Racecourse on Sunday. — Supplied photo
Sovereign Prince sprints to victory at the Meydan Racecourse on Sunday. — Supplied photo

Published: Sun 8 Jan 2023, 10:08 PM

Last updated: Sun 8 Jan 2023, 10:09 PM

Blessed with a big-picture perspective that has helped him prioritise productively, Charlie Appleby turned his attention to Meydan’s domestic meeting on Sunday where he sent out Sovereign Prince to claim the Zabeel Trophy, a modest prize by the Godolphin handler’s normally lofty aspirations.

Less than 24 hours after picking up a pair of lucrative victories on the opening day of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, the two-time British Champion trainer was happy to settle for lesser spoils while keeping his eye on higher targets that would help Sovereign Prince advance in his career.

The highly-regarded four-year-old son of top sire Dubawi was dropping down in class, having been last seen contesting the prestigious Group 3 Saudi Derby on dirt in Riyadh where he finished a respectable fifth behind American raider Pinehurst.

Although he won with a certain degree of comfort in the hands of William Buick, the big-race jockey was not willing to take anything for granted aboard Sovereign Prince who needed to be close to his best to hold off a pair of chasing rivals in Zaman, the mount of Saif Al Balushi and Tamborrada, ridden by Ray Dawson.

Nonetheless, Sovereign Prince passed his last test with distinction for a fourth success in five starts and will surely be next aimed at the Carnival.

Carnival options could also beckon Jebel Ali Stables sprinter Nibraas who finally opened his account at the eighth time of asking, but in a very convincing fashion.

Ridden with confidence by South Africa’s Jean Van Overmeire, who once spent a long time riding out in Dubai for former Carnival heavyweight Mike de Kock, the son of Uncle Mo relished a trip on the stand-side rails to edge the hard-ridden Harvest Gold by a short-head in the Riviera by Azizi.

Nibraas was picking up a seventh victory of the season for new Jebel Ali Stables boss Michael Costa who has enjoyed a promising start at the historic yard owned by Major General Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security,

Commenting on Nibraas’s performance Van Overmeire said he was not surprised with the result.

“His last few pieces of work at home have been quite sharp I had no doubt that he will run well,” said the South African, who also previously worked as an apprentice to Roger Varian in the UK.

“I was pleased with where we drew tonight (Stall 12) as it’s a bit favourable on the stand-side rail. He relaxed beautifully and got into a great rhythm and even had a bunny to chase as well and when I gave him a squeeze he quickened very nicely.

“He was still a bit raw towards the closing stages when he was left out in front. But I think this performance will open up a few doors for him,” the jockey added.

“I’m very pleased with the way the season is going for the whole team.”

The Al Asfa’s Stables pairing of Ahmad bin Harmash and Ray Dawson was the only team to record a double on the night, winning the Creek Views maiden with Mr. Raj and following up with a victory in the concluding race of the meeting, the Mina Handicap courtesy Gareth.

Commenting on Mr. Raj’s first career success, Dawson said: “He's just a lovely animal to ride, he’s very straightforward.

“I love his attitude. He went through the kickback without a problem and he responded to every question I was asking him he got there nicely. He’s got a great mind.”

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