Safety Check claims back-to-back Al Fahidi Fort victories in Dubai World Cup at Meydan
Thursday’s third meeting of the 2016 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse, UAE, was highlighted by the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort, which for the second year running was won by Godolphin’s Safety Check.
The five-year-old won three races at Meydan in 2015, adding the Group Two Zabeel Mile to his Al Fahidi Fort success, before running third behind Toormore in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last summer.
However this was a first Carnival winner of the campaign for trainer, Charlie Appleby and stable jockey, William Buick. In doing so Safety Check broke the track record in the process, becoming only the second dual winner of the race since Linngari won consecutive Al Fahidi Forts in 2006 and 2007 when the race was run over the longer trip of 1600 metres.
At the halfway stage Buick and Safety Check were a long way off the leaders with the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Ghaamer and the Mike de Kock-trained Mastermind setting a good pace early on.
However Ghaamer ran out of steam with 300 metres remaining, leaving Mastermind in front but he, not surprisingly, was tiring and had no answer to Buick and Safety Check as they pounced inside the final 200.
Harry’s Son, one of five runners in the race representing South Africa, ran on to snatch second with the legendary Piere Strydom riding for Paul Lafferty, with Mastermind holding on for third.
The third meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, sponsored by Meydan Sobha featured seven races for Thoroughbred horses, with four contests taking place on the Meydan turf track.
Only eight horses went to post for the 1000 metre turf handicap with two trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam and they dominated proceedings, finishing first and second with Wayne Smith aboard the winner, Roicead who ran on too strongly for stable companion Saayerr, the mount of stable jockey, Chris Hayes.
Smith, completing a rapid double, sent his mount after early leader, Caspian Prince at the halfway mark and Roicead found a telling burst of acceleration to lead about 300 metres from home.
They never looked likely to be caught with Saayerr finishing well to snatch second close home from Caspian Prince.
Hayes had to settle for the runner-up berth there but completed a double for Selvaratnam with the determined victory of Top Clearance in a 1600 metre dirt handicap. A promising eighth in the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge two weeks ago, he showed the benefit of that outing to lead close to home.
Representing Korea, Success Story, the first Korean-bred runner to race in the Dubai World Cup Carnival, tried to make all but was caught by Godolphin’s American Hope 200 metres from the line but Hayes was rousting Top Clearance and they led in the final stages to complete a great evening for the Selvaratnam team. Success Story was an honourable third and received a rousing reception on his return to the Parade Ring.
This week’s non-Carnival race was the opening 1900 metre dirt handicap which was won by Smith aboard the Ismail Mohammed-trained Respect Me.
Selvaratnam was not the only trainer to saddle first and second in the same race with South African, Mike de Kock and Godolphin trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor repeating the same trick.
In De Kock’s case, it was Sanshaawes who denied stable companion, Whistle Stop in the District One Trophy turf handicap over 2000 metres.
Christophe Soumillon rode the winner having stalked a very steady early pace set by Godolphin’s Tha’Ir before throwing down a determined and ultimately successful challenge. Switching his mount off the rail, Soumillon mustered a good turn of foot from Sanshaawes, winning in the UAE for a third time having tasted victory twice at Meydan in 2014.
The finale of the evening, a 2435 metre turf handicap was claimed by the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Haafaguinea under William Buick while stable companion, Al Saham gave the Godolphin handler a one-two.