Janoobi takes Zabeel Mile While Ertijaal wins the Meydan Sprint
Thursday’s eighth meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse was a cracker, with no less than three turf features. The evening was topped by the Group 2 US$250,000 Zabeel Mile and won, for a fourth time, by South African trainer Mike de Kock, who saddled winner Janoobi, as well as the third-placed Noah From Goa. The 1600m turf highlight appeared to be run at a good pace as 2017 winner Championship was sent to the front from his outside 10-post under Silvestre de Sousa, with the two De Kock runners in his slipstream. Early in the straight, Christophe Soumillon niggled at Noah From Goa as Janoobi, under Jim Crowley, went with his yard-mate gamely.
“I had planned to lead but Championship was able to get across us and to the front, so I was conscious to switch out off the rail, as I did not want to be stuck behind him,” Crowley said. “It actually proved ideal, because I had a nice tow from him and we went a good gallop which has suited my horse who won nicely. He has improved with each run this year and we knew we had a good chance in a competitive race.”
In the night’s opener, UAE’s top-rated horse of 2017, Ertijaal kicked off festivities well with a thrilling defense of the Group 2 $175,000 Meydan Sprint Stretch over a 1000m on turf, making all for Crowley, Sheikh Hamdan and trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. The son of Oasis Dream, has raced seven times over the Meydan 1000m, suffering his sole defeat in the 2016 Al Quoz Sprint, now a 1200m race, and setting the track record in this race 12 months ago.
Well-regarded Charlie Appleby trainee Blue Point, racing over a 1000m for the first time, loomed as a big danger 300m out under William Buick. The pair challenged in the final furlong, nearly appearing the stronger of the two until Ertijaal and Crowley fought back in thrilling fashion to prevail by a head.
“He was on his toes a bit in the stalls and actually missed the break a little bit, but was soon in that amazing rhythm he has,” Crowley said. “I was always happy on him and we knew Blue Point, who is a very good sprinter himself, would be staying on. When my horse is challenged, I know he is going to find plenty for pressure and that is what happened.”
The Group 3 $200,000 Dubai Millennium Stakes over 2000m on the turf, produced another enthralling finish with the Godolphin pair, Folkswood and Leshlaa flashing across the line together. It was the former, partnered by William Buick for Charlie Appleby, who prevailed over his Pat Cosgrave-ridden and Saeed bin Suroor-trained banner-mate by a short head.
“The horse really deserves a lot of credit for that win because we were in trouble with nowhere to go for a little while, but when the gap opened, he really picked up in style,” Buick said. “I knew once we were clear, it was going to be close and the horse has really battled to lead on the line. His last run was in Australia was in November, so he was entitled to need this outing.”