The Dubai World Cup meeting celebrates its historic 25th anniversary on March 27, with six Group 1 races and three Group 2s, including one of the world’s premier races, the $12 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline.
Over the next three weeks, we will pay tribute to each of the previous Dubai World Cup winners. Today, we rewind to 2004 when Pleasantly Perfect won the Dubai World Cup in thrilling fashion.
Such was the reputation that arrived with Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia D’Oro that not even the previous year’s UAE Derby winner and Al Maktoum Challenge champion Victory Moon, nor the Japan Cup Dirt winner Fleetstreet Dancer or Japan’s finest dirt runner, Admire Don, could garner much support when opinions were sought as to the likely winner of the Dubai World Cup.
Pleasantly Perfect and fierce rival Medaglia D’Oro were different, and many were expecting them to repeat their battle of four months previously in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, some going further and predicting that the former would emulate inaugural winner Cigar and follow his Breeders’ Cup win with a Dubai World Cup success.
Pre-event predictions of match races and classic encounters hardly ever come to fruition, however this would be different. As strong a field as was assembled for this Dubai World Cup, Victory Moon, Fleetstreet Dancer, Admire Don and seven others would be relegated to just bit players as Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia D’Oro made Nad Al Sheba the venue for some scores to be settled from Santa Anita.
Jerry Bailey, rider of Medaglia D’Oro, decided to make his move shortly after turning into the long Nad Al Sheba straight and for a few strides it appeared the horse could carry him to Dubai World Cup success number four. Bailey, however, didn’t need to glance over his right shoulder to discover who was within his shadows, his nemesis from Santa Anita was right there and ready to challenge.
Such is the size of Pleasantly Perfect that he doesn’t appear to quicken, merely lengthen his giant stride, and as he did, so he drew alongside Medaglia D’Oro at the 400m. Further back Victory Moon was beginning to make some ground, however all attention was with the leading two. They drew away from the chasing pack and as hard as Medaglia D’Oro tried to come back, Pleasantly Perfect was too big, too strong, on an evening where both would receive the plaudits.
Nad Al Sheba erupted as Pleasantly Perfect eventually drew clear to win by just under a length, however as good as the win was, their appreciation was also for the brave second placegetter. Victory Moon was far from disgraced in finishing third five lengths away, himself a long way in front of the fourth, Grand Hombre, the horse entrusted by Godolphin to give them a hat-trick of Dubai World Cup successes.
However, with Pleasantly Perfect and Medaglia D’Oro it was always going to be a tough assignment. For Richard Mandella it was the breakthrough he so eagerly sought. This was an event where two top class horses proved themselves superior to their rivals with the winner arguably just that little bit better than the second.
Pleasantly Perfect finished his career winning nine of eighteen starts, with earnings close to a record US$8 million.
Dubai Racing Club Press Release
Photo: Pleasantly Perfect, (Dubai Racing Club)