Japan Strikes Early As Bathrat Leon Lands Godolphin Mile

March 26, 2022

$1,000,000 Group 2 Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Nakheel

Bathrat Leon returned to his very best form, much of which had deserted him during his three-year-old year, by giving Japan its second success in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile (sponsored by Nakheel). 

The Yoshito Yahagi-trained four-year-old entered last year’s classic season at home as one of their leading contenders but emerged with a battered reputation and had not finished closer than ninth in six starts since taking the Group 2 New Zealand Trophy (1600m) at Nakayama in April.

Although he had struggled on Japan’s sandy dirt surface at his only attempt away from turf late last year, he appeared to relish the Meydan track, leading all the way at a fast clip under Ryusei Sakai to score by a length and a quarter over local Desert Wisdom with three and a quarter lengths back to the progressive Storm Damage in third.

Another Japanese runner, Soliste Thunder, filled fourth.

Winning trainer Yoshito Yahagi said: “He’s a good strong front-runner and we know the bends well, so he got a good start and he pushed and he was able to keep it up to the line. We got our tactics right.”

Ryusei Sakai, jockey, Bathrat Leon, said: “The plan was to go forward and just go quick. Everything worked out and the horse kept going. I think he preferred the dirt surface here more than in Japan. Mr Yahagi is one of the best trainers in the world. It’s a great result.”

He continued: “This was my dream and dreams come true. He (was expected) to run a good race in the last three days. His concentration is very good. I got the lead easily. He was travelling very well. I still wasn’t very confident because you have American horses in behind who have speed and are very good.”

On his alliance with Yoshita Yahagi, he added: “I have been riding for him in Japan for seven  years – since I was an apprentice.”

4th – Soliste Thunder, jockey Cristian Demuro said: “Good run from a wide gate. The dirt here is different to that in Japan. Pretty happy with him.” 

5th – Mubakker, jockey Dane O’Neill said: “Nice position, nursed him into the race but he didn’t finish off like I’d have hoped.”  

5th – Mubakker and 13th Golden Goal, trainer Doug Watson said: “I would say they both ran a bit flat. I thought Mubakker travelled a little bit better, but the speed is holding up pretty good. They ran hard races three weeks ago so maybe we make a different plan next year and give them a bit more time between races.”

8th – Algiers, jockey James Doyle: “He had an outside gate. He was always against the grain.”  

9th – Dubai Icon, jockey Pat Cosgrave said: “Wide draw and it was hard for him.”  

10th – Snapper Sinclair, jockey Luis Saez, said: “He broke pretty good and was in a great spot but with 300m left he didn’t seem to have anything in the tank and so we couldn’t get anything. He tried but he was empty.

11th – Secret Ambition, jockey Antonio Fresu said: “He stumbled at the start and got squeezed. He didn’t want to go after that. He needs to lead, be up there.”  

13th – Golden Goal, jockey Pat Dobbs said: “He was gone early, just like the last day.”  

15th – Pogo, jockey Kieran Shoemark said: “He hated the kickback.”  

16th – Al Nefud, jockey Tadhg O’Shea said: “He has finished lame.”

Dubai Racing Club Press Release

Photo: Bathrat Leon (DRC Photo)

“For a unique and real perspective on horse racing, I read Jonathan Stettin’s column Past the Wire.” Bob Baffert, Multiple Triple Crown winner, Eclipse Award winner, Hall of Fame Champion Trainer

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