DUBAI: Over 1600m on the Meydan dirt surface, the $1.5 million Group 2 Godolphin Mile sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City-District One produced a thrilling finish with Heavy Metal looking set to defend his title only to be caught in the dying strides by Coal Front.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Robert La Penta & Heads Of Plains Partners, the 5-year-old ridgling was drawn wide in 12 and not able to get to the front under Jose Ortiz, who had hoped to do so, but forced to track Heavy Metal, Muntazah and Good Curry.
The last named was the first to crack with Muntazah looming large alongside Heavy Metal at the top of the straight before weakening with 300m to run.
That left Heavy Metal clear with a seemingly insurmountable advantage but Ortiz had a willing partner who finished off his race in style to put his head in front where it mattered.
Jockey Christophe Soumillon sprinted to the finish line in a photo-finish to reclaim the Dubai World Cup crown for the second straight year.
Racing at Meydan on Friday, the first post-Dubai World Cup meeting ever at the track, was highlighted by the Zabeel Trophy sponsored by Emirates Airline, a 1600m turf conditions race that was turned into a procession by Ajwad, who was sent straight to the front by Bernardo Pinheiro and never saw any of his 15 rivals afterward.
Pedro Rodriguez starred as Chelsea withstood a spirited Slavia Prague fightback in a wild 4-3 victory to qualify for the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, while Arsenal knocked out Napoli after an assured display in Italy.
Monte Carlo: World number one Novak Djokovic was dumped out by Daniil Medvedev while Rafael Nadal survived a struggle to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for the 14th time on Friday.
Virat Kohli struck a masterly hundred to put Nitish Rana and Andre Russell’s magnificent fightback in a shade.