Tuz Races Clear for Big G1 Golden Shaheen Triumph

March 30, 2024

Tuz triumphant in the Golden Shaheen (Dubai Racing Club)

Dubai Racing Club Press Release

Twelve months on after Switzerland was just touched off in defense of his title in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, Tuz provided trainer Bhupat Seemar some sweet revenge, storming home at the fence to defeat Japan’s Don Frankie by a record six and a half-length margin.

Another Dubai World Cup night runner to have begun his career in Russia – taking his first three career starts by wide margins at Pyatigorsk Hippodrome – the US$7,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland September in 2018 was making his fourth straight appearance on the big night, having run unplaced in the G2 Godolphin Mile in 2021 and 2022 and seventh to Sibelius in last year’s Golden Shaheen.

His most recent start, a distant 10th to Remake in last month’s G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint (1200m), wasn’t exactly the lead-up connections wanted, but Saturday’s was a result that was never truly in doubt.

Quickly away from stall two, the hulking Tuz had company to his outside in the form of Japan’s 1305-pound (592-kilogram) monster Don Frankie, with Colour Up also close in tow. Appearing hesitant to take the run at the rail in the straight as Don Frankie set the pace one off the inside, Tuz finally acquiesced, pushing through to wrest command 200 metres from home before powering away for an impressive score.

Nakatomi, last into the straight, ran on late for third ahead of Remake in fourth. Sibelius looked to be making hard work of it a long way from home and finished 11th of the 14 runners.

“He’s got so much natural speed; his weapon is his speed,” said winning trainer Bhupat Seemar. “He’s always been a fast horse and it’s like Switzerland – he ran poorly in Saudi and then won the Shaheen. Sprinters mature and they know what to do. I had some confidence.”

Winning jockey Tadhg O’Shea said: “He’s very fast. We had a great gate number [two] but we were getting pressured a long way out. He had to be good and tough. There wasn’t much room to manoeuvre down the inside, but I had a good, willing partner. He’s a big horse. When he straightened up, he went through the eye of a needle. I was a length down off Cristian [Demuro] on the home turn. I gave [Tuz] a squeeze and the response was immediate.

“He’s a high class horse and when he gets a rail to shoot at, he’s very, very, very good.”

Don Frankie (2nd), jockey Cristian Demuro said: “He ran very well and tried hard. We were beaten by a very good horse.”

Nakatomi (3rd), jockey Jamie Spencer said: “The horse drawn nine [Hopkins] took all my chance away when he crossed me after 50 metres and it cost me any chance of winning the race. The horse has done really well to get to where we got.”

Remake (4th), trainer Koichi Shintani said: “He got pinched at the start and he got knocked over when he started to accelerate into the home stretch. Running abroad is hard. It was all over at the start. He showed his turn of foot though it was the worst time to get knocked down.”

Igniter (5th), jockey Tsubasa Sasagawa said: “We showed that he can compete at the world stage. I thought we were winning at one point. He was very nervous in the stall and missed the jump. It was ideal if we could have sat behind Don Frankie. It was just a matter of timing. He ran very well.”

Leading Spirit (6th), jockey Pat Cosgrave said: “He had a terrible draw, but ran home good. He ran sixth, but I thought he was going to be third at the furlong pole. He just had too much ground to make up down the stretch but huge run. He never runs a bad race.

Run Classic (7th), jockey Florent Geroux said: “It was OK. I was a little bit wide on the outside because of the draw. I started making a nice run, I got bumped a little bit, lost a bit of momentum. But he wasn’t any threat for the first four, for sure.”

Mouheeb (8th), jockey Ben Coen said: “We had a wide gate and so we had to go back. It was too tough for him. It’s hard to make up ground if you’re not in the first three lanes.”

Keiai Dorie (9th), jockey Christophe Lemaire said: “Jumped well from the gates but couldn’t hold a position in front, just beaten for pace. Tried hard but couldn’t come again at the end.”

Bold Journey (10th), jockey Frankie Dettori said: “Never in contention.”

Sibelius (11th), trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer said: “It is hard to make excuses, but the race was probably a little rough for him getting pressure from the outside horse the whole way and never really getting a chance to get into a rhythm.”

Hopkins (12th), jockey Luis Saez said: “I had a good trip but he didn’t fire when I needed him.”

Freedom Fighter (13th), jockey Richard Mullen said: “He’s been a consistent horse all year in the local races, that’s his level. This is just a step too far, possibly two steps too far. He deserved to take his chance, he’s been up with the best local sprinters. Just another level again. I’d expect him to freshen up into next season and target the Al Shindagha Sprint, the Mahab Al Shimaal, that’s his grade.”

Colour Up (14th), jockey Pat Dobbs said: “I had to use up a bit of petrol from the draw and he stopped very quickly for some reason – it’s not like him. I’d say he’s not right.”

@jonathanstettin Great article!

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