Golden Goal impressive in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge

January 14, 2022

Champion trainer Doug Watson will take a tried and tested route to the Dubai

World Cup meeting in March following Golden Goal’s impressive success in

Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge, Presented by Nakheel, the highlight of the

opening day at the 2022 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse.

Having tracked the leader Eastern World for the first half of the 1600 metre trip

Sam Hitchcott pushed Golden Goal to lead on the rail at the three-furlong post

where he was soon joined by Godolphin Mile (Group 2) winner Secret Ambition

and Tadhg O’Shea.

The pair began to pull away from the rest of their highly-regarded rivals but

Hitchcott soon found himself in a stiff battle with the reigning UAE champion

jockey.

However, it was Golden Goal who appeared to benefit from having a run under his

belt as he did the better work in the closing stage to cross the line a length and a

half ahead of Secret Ambition.

The unbeaten Kafoo ran a big race for William Buick to finish third, three and a

quarter-lengths back, with Thegreatcollection staying on for fourth.

“You always have a plan in your head, fortunately, it worked out as I imagined,”

said winning jockey Hitchcott.

“We had fitness on our side. Secret Ambition is probably fit but he’s running after

a long time. This lad was in good nick, he’s a tough horse.”

Hitchcott hinted that the Burj Nahaar (Group 3) and Godolphin Mile (Group 2)

would most likely be the next targets for the Dale Brennan-owned Golden Goal;

the same races he contested last season.

Watson was delighted to win a third Al Maktoum Challenge, after Barbecue Eddie

in 2013 and Kimbear in 2020, and said: “We knew after he ran in the Creek Mile

that he usually needs his first run. Most of our horses are running off an eight to

nine month layoff, so I thought he’d improve tonight.

“He had a good draw and Sam gave him a good ride and we were able to hold off

Secret Ambition. It’s nice to get a win like that.”

Friday’s action produced a host of exciting races as the Carnival delivered on its

international aspirations with wins for Uruguay and France and the now customary

Godolphin double.

Cintra strikes again

Experienced Brazilian-born handler Antonio Cintra, who is based at Maronas in

Uruguay, has brought a team of horses to Dubai and he picked up a second success

of the season in the Festival City Stakes (Presented By Palm West Beach) with the

smart Brazilian-bred Bet Law.

With stable jockey Vagner Leal doing the steering, the three-year-old Southern

Hemisphere-bred made light of conceding four kilos to his rivals and soon led the

1200 contest. He pulled clear inside the final two furlongs to win by a comfortable

margin of four and a quarter lengths from Tadhg O’Shea and Summer Is

Tomorrow.

“He’s a nice horse; he has a lot of speed at the beginning and the final 400metres

as well,” said Leal, who was notching a second Meydan success of the season,

following that of Quality Boone last month.

“He’s still green, so we believe he can improve further.

“This is an amazing place. I enjoy riding here with some of the best jockeys in the

world.”

Cape Verdi Stakes

It’s been seven years since Olivier Peslier last had a winner in the UAE, but the

French ace made up for the delay when taking out the Group 2 Cape Verdi Stakes

(Presented By Club Vista Mare), for fillies and mares, aboard the German-bred

Pevensey Bay.

The six-year-old daughter of British stallion Footstepsinthesand, who is trained by

French-based Japanese handler Hiroo Shimizu, came from the back of the field to

defeat Norwegian hope Ascot Brass by three-quarters of a length. Godolphin’s

Wedding Dance was third, half a length further back.

 “She’s like the French horses, very tough,” said Peslier. “I know her and I know

that she has a very good turn of foot. The last two furlongs she was doing very

well.

“It was very rough inside but when I came outside she changed her legs and she

showed her acceleration.”

Bin Suroor opens account for new season

Earlier on, veteran Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Suroor got off the mark for the

campaign when Dubai Future took the Listed Dubai Racing Club Classic under Pat

Cosgrave. Second to Walton Street in this race a year ago, the six-year-old looks a

better model this season and scooted to a five and a quarter length success over

Group 3 winner Star Safari.

 “The horse, he always tries hard,” said Bin Suroor, an eight-time champion trainer

at the Carnival.

“This is his best trip, a mile and a half. He’s doing well, always working nicely in

the morning.

“I want to see how he comes out of the race, but we’ll look at another Listed or a

Group race for him after this.”

More silverware for Appleby

Bin Suroor’s Godolphin counterpart and dual Epsom Derby-winning handler

Charlie Appleby did not leave the racecourse without his share of the silverware,

saddling Sovereign Prince to win the first running of the Jumeirah Classic Trial

(Presented By Palm Jumeirah).

Appleby, who was posting his fourth Meydan success of the season, commented:

“He did a fair bit of leading at home so he’s kind of getting used to the others

coming past him. So we felt tonight we need to have the cheekpieces on and it had

the desired effect.

“He’s not got the profile of some of the three-year-olds we’ve brought in the past

but as William [Buick] rightly said, he’s quite a genuine horse and he stuck to his

guns tonight.

“They went a good gallop, but William had a lovely pitch in there and soon as the

leader peeled off the rail it was a racing-winning move.”

The Carnival opened with Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 for Purebred

Arabians which was won in imperious fashion by the very exciting Bahrani-owned

Rb Rich Lyke Me, ridden by Dutch champion Adrie de Vries for trainer Fawzi

Nass.

2022 Dubai World Cup Carnival

Race By Race Quotes

Race 1.

Al Maktoum Challenge Presented By The Pointe

Purse $50,000 *Purebred Arabian Group 1) 16000m (Dirt)

Winner: Rb Rich Lyke Me (trained by Fawzi Nass)

Jockey. Adrie de Vries: “You can drop him in if he goes too fast. He’s not keen when he has

horse upsides him. You can decide to take him back and do whatever you want. He’s very

professional.

“I’ve heard rumours (it will be) Saudi Arabia [next]. But it’s up to Fawzi and Sheikh Nasser (bin

Hamad Al Khalifa)

“He seems to handle this track beautifully. Saudi is a very different surface. I don’t know what

the best option is, but I’ll leave that up to Fawzi.”

Race 2.

Festival City Stakes Presented By Palm West Beach

Purse: $60,000 (Thoroughbreds 3yo Only) 1200m (Dirt)

Winner: Bet Law (trained by Antonio Cintra)

Jockey Vagner Leal

“He’s a nice horse; he has a lot of speed in the beginning and the final 400metres as well.He’s still green and we believe that he can improve further. He has more to show; we hope we have a

good season with him.

“This is an amazing place. I enjoy riding here with some of the best jockeys in the world.”

Race 3

Dubai Racing Club Classic (Presented By The View At The Palm)

Purse: $ 100,000 (Thoroughbreds 4yo+ Listed) 2,400m (Turf)

Winner: Dubai Future (trained by Saeed Bin Suroor)

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor: “The horse he always tries well. This is his best trip, a mile and a

half. He’s doing well, always working nicely in the morning.

“He has a good turn of foot and he won well by four lengths.

“I want to see how he comes out of the race but we’ll look at a Listed or Group race for him after

this.”

Pat Cosgrave: “I rode him in Kempton two starts ago and he was very keen, I sort of learned

from that day. Frankie did the same in Bahrain, he over-raced then.

“I left him alone at the gates and he relaxed better today.

“The way he won today shows he ready to step into the top level.”

Race 4.

Jumeirah Classic Trial (Presented By Palm Jumeirah)

Purse: $150,000 (Thoroughbreds 3yo only) 1400m (Turf)

Winner: Sovereign Prince (Trained by Charlie Appleby)

Charlie Appleby: “He did a fair bit of leading at home so he’s kind of getting used to the other

horses coming past him. We felt tonight that we need to have the cheek pieces on and it’s had the

desired effect.

“He’s not got the profile of some of the three year olds we’ve brought in the past but William

[Buick] rightly said he’s quite a genuine horse he stuck to his guns. They went a good gallop and

William had a lovely pitch in there. As soon as the leader peeled off the rail it was a racing

winning move really.

“Originally he hadn’t been in our Carnival plans because his rating wasn’t high enough but that

last race, the form of it worked out very well, and he went up the handicap ratings and he ended

up being a Carnival horse.

“The nice thing about this new Jumeirah series is it gives some of these three-year-olds a chance

on the turf.”

Race 5.

Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (Presented By Nakheel) Group 2

Purse: $250,000 (Thoroughbreds 3yo +) 1600m (Dirt)

Winner: Golden Goal (trained by Doug Watson)

Jockey Sam Hitchcott: “Fortunately, you always have a plan in your mind and tonight it

worked out as I imagined. Tadhg (O’Shea and Secret Ambition) were bang in there and I didn’t

want to give him the fence; I just forced him a little bit. We had fitness on our side. Secret

Ambition is probably fit but he’s running after a long time.

“He’s [Golden Goal] been great; his work last week was fantastic, I couldn’t have be happier

with him.

“[The Burj Nahar and Godolphin Mile] – that’s the plan, I would imagine, but we will have a

little sit-down and discuss it. That’s the most straightforward route to go and if they keep

producing them like that they’ll be hard to beat.”

Trainer Doug Watson: “We knew after he ran in the Creek Mile that he usually needs his first

run. Most of our horses are running off an eight to nine month layoff, so I thought he’d improve

tonight. He had a good draw and Sam gave him a good ride and we were able to hold off Secret

Ambition.”

Race 6

Cape Verdi (Group 2) (Presented By Club Vista Mare)

Purse: $180,000 (Thoroughbred fillies & mares 3yo+ )1,600m (Turf)

Winner: Pevensey Bay (trained by Hiroo Shimizu)

Jockey Olivier Peslier: “She’s like the French horses, very tough. I know her and I know that

she has a very good turn of foot. In fact, the last two furlongs she was doing very well.

“In the last two furlongs it was very rough inside but when I came outside she changed her legs

and she showed her acceleration.”

Race 7.

Dubai Dash (Presented By The Palm Fountain)

Purse: $100,000 Thoroughbreds 4yo+ Listed Stakes 1200m (Turf)

Winner: Mutaraffa (trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri)

Trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri: “He’s a horse who has been doing a lot of good work in the morning, so

we were pretty confident coming here.

“The Shadwell horses have a lot of speed and he did it rather comfortably. He’s a nice horse for the

future.”

Dubai Racing Club Press Release

Photo: Dhric/AK

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