Secret Ambition, O'Shea star in Meydan Double for Seemar - GulfToday

Secret Ambition, O'Shea star in Meydan Double for Seemar


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Gulf Today Report

Thursday’s third meeting of the 2021 Dubai World Cup Carnival, at Meydan, was officially highlighted by the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes sponsored by DP World UAE Region, and it was third time lucky for Secret Ambition, runner-up in the two previous renewals, who turned the race into a procession.

The 1600m dirt highlight was contested by just six runners, but once Tadhg O’Shea set sail for home early in the straight there was only ever going to be one outcome.

An entire son of Exceed And Excel, the 8-year-old was ridden to grab the initiative in the early stages, an advantage they never really appeared likely to relinquish. Winner of the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile in January 2019, in which he was second this year, he also won the 2019 Listed Dubai Creek Mile, but had not tasted success since.

He had, however, been runner-up five times and third once in his six subsequent outings. He has been a great servant for Satish Seemar and owner Nasir Askar, winning this in a race record time.
O’Shea said: “There were a couple that might have wanted to make the running but when this fellow breaks well he does not like to be settled in, so I was happy to go on and be positive.

“This horse has danced every dance and is so tough and consistent so he deserved another victory. He did that very well this evening.”

Restricted to 3-year-olds, also over 1600m on dirt, the UAE 2000 Guineas sponsored by Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, attracted a select field of just six, but produced a thrilling finish with Mouheeb leading in the dying strides to deny Meshakel who made a gallant effort from the front only to be thwarted.

It was a first Meydan winner, since taking over at Jebel Ali Stables, for trainer Nicholas Bachalard who, from his previous base in Saudi Arabia, did win the 2017 UAE 1000 Guineas with Nashmiah.

It was a second success from Jebel Ali Stables in this race for the trainer’s main patron, Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, following in the hoofprints of Market Rally who landed the prize in 2016 for Dhruba Selvaratnam.

Curatolo, riding his first Meydan winner, said: “This horse is such a fighter and to ride my first winner here in a big race is just brilliant.

Also for the 3-year-old Classic generation, but on turf, the Meydan Classic Trial sponsored by Jebel Ali Port was a virtual carbon copy of the 1200m turf Dubai Trophy of three weeks earlier when Godolphin’s First Smile looked the likely winner only to be outstayed by Topper Bill and Richard Mullen.  

Mullen said: “Like the last day he has had to battle and dig deep, but he has a great attitude which makes my job a lot easier. He stayed the 1200m very well last time so we hoped the extra 200m would suit him.”

The curtain raiser, the Mina Rashid, a 1200m dirt handicap was won stylishly by Canvassed, confidently ridden by Pat Dobbs, in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum for Doug Watson.

Twice a winner in Britain for Roger Varian, both times over 1600m on an all-weather surface, this was his third outing of the current campaign, his previous effort being a third place finish in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile.  

Responsible for seven of the ten runners, Godolphin were always likely to dominate the Meydan Cup sponsored by P & O Marinas, a Listed turf handicap over 2810m, and that proved to be the case with the blue silks filling the first five places.

It was Frankie Dettori, wearing a red cap, who landed the spoils for Saeed bin Suroor aboard Dubai Future, chased home by his stable companions Volcanic Sky and Global Heat. Charlie Appleby duo, Ispolini and Ghostwatch filled the next two places albeit well beaten.

The biggest field of the evening, a capacity 14, contested the finale, a second turf Listed handicap on the card, this time over 1200m, the Dubai Sprint sponsored by JAFZA, and Godolphin completed a double, Man Of Promise proving far too good, denying Bin Suroor and Dettori a double with runner-up Final Song.

Never far off the speed, racing towards the nearside under William Buick, the 4-year-old Into Mischief gelding shot clear about 275m from home, settling the race in a few strides and supplying Charlie Appleby a century of UAE winners.

The jockeys were sporting black armbands in the final two races after the sad death of UAE racing stalwart Pat Buckley was revealed by Tadhg O’Shea after Secret Ambition’s victory.

Related articles