Thursday’s Racing at Meydan card was an action-packed evening of racing highlighted by the featured Garhoud Sprint (Listed), sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, which featured a thrilling finish as Doug Watson-trained Drafted ran down dirt-debuting Ibn Malik in the final yards of the 1200m affair. The win was the second on the evening for the combination of said trainer and jockey Sam Hitchcott, who teamed up to win the opener—the Lincoln MKZ Trophy handicap over 2000m—with locally debuting Powderhouse.
Finishing up in a solid time of 1:11.86, the bargain Racing in Dubai Sale AED 40,000 purchase won by a measured nose over his Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained runner-up, giving owner Misty Hollow Farm its third win from its last five Meydan starts with the Canadian-bred son of Field Commission. The three arguably highest regarded in the field—Group 3 winner Kimbear, track record-setting Raven’s Corner and the fleet-footed frontrunner High on Life—filled out the following three spots in what was a fitting Dubai World Cup Carnival prep for both the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes on Jan. 3 and Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 on Jan. 10.
Watson, who also saddled Kimbear and seventh-place Almanaara, said: “He was missing the break a bit last season, so we decided to take the visor off and he has broken much better today. Sam has given him a great ride and timed his challenge perfectly. Drafted has probably tired in the final stages, but hung on gamely. Kimbear has also run very well over this shorter trip and that should put him spot on for the first round of the Maktoum Challenge in five weeks. Drafted will go on to the Dubawi.”
As for Powderhouse’s maiden-breaking victory—a race that was delayed when J Be Space broke through the gate and lost his saddle and jockey (Richard Mullen) en route to being withdrawn—Hitchcott was pleased with his hard-closing effort, saying: “Having been off the track since August last year, hopefully he can build on that, both in terms of fitness and experience.”
Eleven juveniles contested the Lincoln, a 1600m conditions race that was won by the heavily favoured Phoenix Ladies Syndicate’s Walking Thunder, the only previous winner in the field. Despite a less than ideal trip, the son of Violence thrashed his opponents in the final throws under Connor Beasley for trainer Ahmad bin Harmash.
“Over 1400m the first time, I was keen to be positive and teach him. Today was a further education about seeing out the 1600m,” Beasley said. “It all went to plan. For an inexperienced youngster, he has a remarkably professionally attitude and he strikes as a smart horse. Stepping up in class next year, we will hope he can build on this.”
A run in either the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial on Jan. 10 or UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) on Feb. 7 is expected to be next for the well-regarded charge. Both are over the same 1600m.
The longest race on the card, the 2200m Lincoln MKC handicap only witnessed one leader with Heraldic soon in front under Richard Mullen and staying there throughout. Trained by Satish Seemar for Al Bait Mutawahed Team, the 5-year-old gelded son of Discreet Cat was doubling his local tally and registering a third career success having scored once for Mark Johnston when trained in Britain.
“To be honest, making the running was probably not the plan, but nobody else seemed to want to lead, so I was then happy to,” Mullen said. “We went quite quick initially, but I was able to get a breather into him and then he has really battled all the way to the line.”
The trainer completed a double with the remarkable victory of Cachao in the1600m handicap, the Lincoln MKX, which attracted a full field of 16. Under a stealthy ride by Tadhg O’Shea, the son of New Approach closed resolutely up the rail, tipped out to pass frontrunner Pirate’s Cove and ultimately out-battled fellow late-runner Big Brown Bear.
“I ride this horse regularly at home and he is basically a lazy type, but a fast 1600m like this evening does suit him,” O’Shea said. “After I rode him over 1400m last time, I told Satish and the owner (Ali Muktar) back over 1600m he would run a big race. Luckily, it all worked out well.”
The Lincoln Navigator, a 2000m handicap, looked competitive on paper but ultimately proved a fairly straightforward task for Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi’s Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained New Bid, who picked up stylishly in the lane to outrun Welford for the win under Fernando Jara. That pair was comfortably clear of Albernathy in third, making for a 1-2-3 finish for sire Dubawi.
Al Rayhi said: “This is a nice new horse for us and we have to thank the owner for sending him to Grandstand Stables. We were very pleased with his first run and hopeful today. We can now look at the Dubai World Cup Carnival with him.”
The concluding 1400m handicap, the Lincoln Continental Trophy, was won by Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah’s Ahmad bin Harmash-trained Rodaini, who edged a stubborn Seemar-trained Bochart in the final yards by the slimmest of margins. Ridden by Beasley, the son of Exchange Rate was exiting a highly respectable second to the talented Cosmo Charlie on Nov. 22. Erwan Charpy-trained Farook ran on gamely to finish third.
“He travelled up well, but a credit to Richie and Satish’s horse,” Beasley said. “He really had to work to get by (Bochart).”