RRR Racing officials, Bhupat Seemar and Tadhg O’Shea accept the trophies after winning the Dubai Golden Shaheen.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
The story of Switzerland’s multi-continent career has been one of tantalising promise, enduring frustration and consistent inconsistency, but the eight-year-old climbed his highest peak when he took out the $2 million Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) on the Dubai World Cup undercard.
Prepared by this season’s UAE champion trainer-to-be Bhupat Seemar, Switzerland recorded one of the most popular victories of the night — at least judging by the Meydan crowd reaction — with a roar erupting when Tadhg O’Shea pulled the local hope out to the centre of the track.
He charged to a length and three-quarter victory over last year’s runner-up Red Le Zele, who was relegated to second again, with top American sprinter Dr Schivel just grabbing third ahead of Chain Of Love.
A speed battle into the first turn cruelled the chances of a number of leading contenders, with the Madaket Stables-owned Americans Wondrwherecraigis and Drain The Clock going toe-to-toe at slick fractions on the front end. It set the race up perfectly for Switzerland to show the dazzling brilliance at which he has hinted for so long.
Bhupat, who is in his first season with a training licence, said: “It’s such a fantastic result. We’ve always really liked the horse. Tadgh and I spoke this morning and made a plan. Knew there’d be plenty of pace in the race so wanted to pick up the pieces.
“Turning for home Tadgh said we’d just go with one kick. We’ll look to bring him back next year and you never know, even at eight there could be some more improvement in him. It’s a fantastic team we have behind us and I need to thank so many people, I’m in a very privileged position.”
Winning jockey O’Shea, who is on course for a tenth UAE champion jockey title, said: “There was a lot speed on and this horse excels in a truly run race. We were the outsider today and I said to Bhupat let’s ride him accordingly. There’s no point putting him in the race and getting him in a speed duel, so we rode him like we did in the Al Garhoud Sprint [at Meydan on New Year’s Day] and if he shows that turn of foot he’d be competitive. Thankfully it all worked and he’s a horse who grew in confidence as the race went on. They were starting to stop and flounder and he was coming harder on the bridle – so it was fantastic.”
He added: “He came back from Saudi Arabia with a dirty scope and he was drawn bad there. It was a shame I couldn’t go and ride him there but he’s come back better than ever, I’d say that’s a career best. It’s my first Group 1 winner and I’m in the 40 club! I have a good mate Adrian Nicholls who said ‘don’t give up, it’ll come’.”
Yuga Kawada, rider of runner-up Red Le Zele, said: “It was a good result. He likes to do his running at the back of the field in a 1200-metre race. That’s just his style and he did the same here, and I had a very good feeling about him doing well going into this but there was too much ground to make up in the end. But it was a good race and I’m happy with the way he went.”
Ryusei Sakai, who was aboard fourth-placed Chain Of Love said: “He ran well and it was a tough race but he could have finished even better, but we are happy.”
Dettori had previously secured the Dubai World Cup on Dubai Millennium, Moon Ballad and Electrocutionist, but this was the first time he had done so in colours other than those of Godolphin.
“This was his first time running this well on firm ground and in the past he’s run well on softer ground, so taking him over to Europe is high on his to-do list. We’d like to head to Royal Ascot for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.”
Racing at Meydan on Thursday features a Stakes race apiece for both the Purebred Arabians and the Thoroughbreds, the latter, the Listed Dubai Creek Mile the most valuable race on the card and attracting a field of 11, including last year’s winner, Thegreatcollection.
Over 1200m on dirt, the surface on which the whole card was staged due to issues with the turf track caused by inclement weather, it was contested by a select sextet but, having raced in the rear, O’Shea took aim at the other five leaving the home turn and found a willing partner.
Delivering a power-packed performance, the UAE team emerged as champions at the Jiu-Jitsu Championship of the 10th Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Sports Tournament 2023 in Dubai on Friday.
Sheikh Mohammed said that the success of the Dubai World Cup reflects the UAE’s determination to be a global role model for achievement and excellence in various fields.
Hayyan humbles rivals in thrilling opening race Hayyan, ridden by Oscar Chavez, in the silks of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed’s Yas Racing, dominated the opening race of the Dubai World Cup — Kahayla Classic.
Sheikh Mohammed said in a welcoming speech to the official booklet of the tournament: "We are pleased to welcome our honourable guests participating in the twenty-seventh launch of the Dubai World Cup. This global event that embodies within it the noble values of equestrian and its knights who come from all countries of the world to compete for the precious titles in the evening."