$2,000,000 Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored By Atlantis Dubai
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.
Seemar, 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 peices. 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 Tadhg 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.”
5th – Eastern World, jockey Ray Dawson said: “Great run. If I had been drawn a bit lower, been a little closer to the inside, he could have got second. There is a big race in this horse.”
6th – Strong Constitution, jockey Christophe Lemaire said: “He broke a little slow. He felt like seven furlongs would suit him better.”
7th – Drain The Clock, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr said: “He broke a step slow. I had to use him up earlier than I wanted and it told in the finish.”
8th – Everfast, jockey Pat Dobbs said: “He ran up to his best considering he was coming back in trip a good bit.”
9th – Manjeer, jockey Eddy Hardouin said: “We had a nice position behind the leaders. On the turn I thought we would be in the finish but he was tired the last 100 metres.”
10th – Wondrwherecraigis, jockey Luis Saez said: “Good early in the race but he kind of faded in the stretch.”
11th – Al Tariq, jockey Sam Hitchcott said: “We were up on the speed. He’s a nice horse but probably not quite at that elite Group 1 level.”
12th – Mobaadel, jockey Neil Callan said: “Just wasn’t good enough. The wide draw in 14 didn’t help either.”
13th – Good Effort, jockey Jim Crowley said: “He didn’t perform like he did in Saudi last month.”
Dubai Racing Club Press Release
Photo: Switzerland (DRC Photo)