Mystic Guide’s trainer Michael Stidham and jockey Luis Saez hold the trophy after winning the $12 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup on Saturday.
Godolphin’s American-based raider Mystic Guide (USA) proved himself a champion at Meydan on Saturday night when capturing the 2021 $12m Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline.
It was a 9th Dubai World Cup win for Godolphin and a 12th trained in the USA. The 4-year-old had risen through the ranks across the Atlantic and was veteran trainer Mike Stidham’s first ever overseas runner when lining up in the 2000m showpiece.
Jockey Luis Saez tracked front runner Hypothetical before taking the lead 400m from home and forging clear aboard Mystic Guide, a Godolphin homebred son of Ghostzapper who had arrived on the back of an impressive warm-up win in the Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn Park.
Japanese raider Chuwa Wizard stayed on to take second, three and three-quarter lengths behind the winner, with Godolphin’s French-based representative Magny Cours running on into third, another length and a quarter further back. The winning time was 2:01:61.
There was an eventful preliminary to the race with Great Scot being withdrawn after dropping jockey Frankie Dettori and Military Law also taken out of the field after breaking out of the stalls.
Saez said: “Our plan worked out. To break well, get a position and then I knew he would give me that kick at the top of the straight - and he did. I didn’t want to be too far back and I just asked him turning for home and he kicked. The plan worked out perfectly. He’s a young horse and last time I rode him I knew he was a Group 1 winner.
“Today he proved he is a champion and I know he is going to get better and better. What a nice horse, he has all the ability. It’s an honour for me. This was my dream as a little kid and I can’t believe I’m here now. It’s a dream come true.
“He was a little nervous before the race and in the post-parade, but he does that sometimes and I wasn’t too worried. He is just a very talented horse and it is amazing to win this race. I can’t believe it.”
Saez revealed that his horse got affected when Great Scot got fractious. The race was delayed by 14 minutes after two horses broke free after unseated their riders.
First the Abdullah Mishrif-trained Great Scot unseated Frankie Dettori and galloped loose on the way to post. After he was caught and withdrawn, Musabah al Muhairi’s Military Law slipped under the stalls, also running loose before being withdrawn.
“I was a little worried, as he was sweating,” Saez added. “But he’s a professional and did what he had to do in the race.” Saez was not the only one concerned as Stidham admitted he was also worred about how Mystic Guide would deal with the commotion around him.
For Stidham, who saddled his first winner in 1980, it was the pinnacle of his training career.
“I want to start by giving my condolences on the passing of Sheikh Hamdan,” said Stidham. “This was a special night. You’re seeing 40 years of emotions right now.
“I am so happy to be here and the horse performed to his capability. It’s a beautiful thing. He was getting antsy in the parade ring and then with a loose horse it made it more difficult, then we had to load a couple times. It was a little scary at the start but he stayed relaxed.
“All that added to the concerns. He gets a little tough and doesn’t like being restrained a lot. I saddled him outside the stall because he was getting a little antsy in the stall. With all of that that went on, I was really concerned, like I said, but he overcame it.
“I got a good feeling when I saw him lying in third on the backside then down the lane it was amazing. I’m so proud to be here on the 25th anniversary of the Dubai World Cup for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and the sky’s the limit for this horse. We’d love to come back next year, I’ll know the lay of the land better then!”
Magny Cours (William Buick), who was racing on dirt for the first time on his G1 debut for Andre Fabre, stayed on strongly from mid-division to take third, a further length and a quarter in arrears.
Fabre said: “I was delighted with Magny Cours. He was given the perfect ride by William. He travelled well, didn’t mind too much kickback and I couldn’t be happier with him.”
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