The first classic of the UAE season took place in the UAE 1000 Guineas (Listed) over one mile on the dirt and Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor-trained Soft Whisper vied for favouritism with Al Rashid Stables’ Doug Watson-trained Mnasek before the race.
What set up as a great matchup never manifested as Soft Whisper screamed home a dominant seven-length winner under stalk-and-pounce Frankie Dettori tactics and Mnasek missed the break before closing to a distant second under Dane O’Neill. Watson-trained Super Chianti was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third under Pat Dobbs after racing greenly during the final three furlongs.
The final time was 1:38.67 and the winner landed her second race of the season, following a one-sided tally in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial three weeks ago. By Dubawi out of the Sea the Stars mare Placidia, the homebred gave Dettori his fourth win in the race this century and Bin Suroor his 12th. Bigger races may be on the horizon for the now four-time winner from six starts.
“She missed the kick last time, but this time she jumped really good into position and was always in control,” Dettori said. “When I kicked, she went–simply as that. I didn’t have to do too much. She has a bright future. Saeed mentioned everything–Saudi (Derby), UAE Oaks, UAE Derby–who knows. When you win so impressively, you get excited and you think of big plans. I was just saying to Saeed that the last time I won a race this easily was probably Dubai Millennium in 2000. It took me 21 years to find one just as easy.
“That was good. We have big hopes for her. Maybe she didn’t beat the best in the world, but the way she did it, you have to be impressed. We’ll take one step at a time. Nothing has tested her today, so it would be wrong for me to say how good she is because I need some better competition, but at the moment everything is in the right place.”
“We got beat by a good horse on the night, there’s no doubt about that,” O’Neill added about the runner-up. “We got a bit of kickback early on and they got a couple lengths on me on the turn, but when she saw daylight, she stayed on well. She’s a timid little filly and likes a little bit of space and out of the kickback. She’s a nice filly and she’ll probably stay farther next time.”
Regarding Super Chianti, Dobbs added: “She was greener tonight than she was the first night. She travelled well, but when I went for her, she just stuck her head in the air and never went forward for me.”
The $1.5 million Saudi Derby is set for a similar one-turn, one-mile trip at King Abdulaziz Racecourse on Feb. 20 in Riyadh, while the UAE Oaks (G3) over 1 3/16 miles on Feb. 18. The UAE Derby is slated for Dubai World Cup day, March 27.