The final race meeting for 2019 at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday was highlighted by the Dubai Creek Mile which was won in thrilling fashion by the Satish Seemar-trained Secret Ambition.
What was a fascinating six-race card also saw trainer Doug Watson and jockey Pat Dobbs combine once again to bag a pair of winners, as did Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and Fernando Jara.
The duo had to settle for second best though with race favourite Kimbear in the Dubai Creek Mile which looked a competitive renewal on paper and so it proved with all bar two of the seven runners threatening to win at some stage. Heavy Metal and Yulong Warrior set the speed with both still going strongly exiting the home turn. Rodaini loomed as a big danger by dashing inside Secret Ambition – ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, while the well-fancied Kimbear looked for room in behind before ultimately tipping to the outside of the winner.
Heavy Metal, winner of this race in 2017, was the first to crack, leaving Yulong Warrior in front for 100 metres before he weakened and was passed by his winning stable companion. Rodaini and Kimbear were both closing in the final stages, the latter snatching second at the wire, but neither made a dent in the one-length advantage Secret Ambition had established who earned his second stakes win of the year after taking February’s Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile and registering a ninth career success and eighth since joining Zabeel Stables.
Thursday’s meeting commenced with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the upgraded 1900 metre distance Madjani Stakes for which the maximum field allowed of 16 went to post but only one ever saw the front. That was Fahad Mohd Aloraini’s Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Aatebat Al Khalediah who made all the running under Fernando Jara. The grey eight-year-old mare dominated her foes, while being chased home by Ziyadd and Mawahib, with the victory improving upon her second last out to ES Ajeeb over 1400 metres in the Group 2 Bani Yas last month.
Trainer and jockey celebrated a double, combining with Dubai Avenue to land a 1600 metre maiden for two-year-old colts and geldings. Settled in second behind Good Fighter, Jara had to get serious with his mount early in the straight, the pair striking the front a good 400 metres out from the line but seemingly seeing off that rival only to be challenged immediately by debutant Far Sky. Jara’s mount responded gamely, pulling away from Far Sky who just retained second place from a rallying Good Fighter.
There was a dominant performance from filly Down on Da Bayou in 1400 metre YAHSAT Trophy for two-year-old fillies. After a disappointing debut five weeks ago, the winner was never tested from her rail post with Royston Ffrench in the saddle for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer and owner HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
The eight length success margin from Hamama in second and Tapi Sioux in third a further four lengths back perhaps reflects the dominance with an eye now on the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s three-year-old fillies division.
The first of Watson and Dobbs’ double came courtesy of Group 3 winner My Catch who returned to form in some style in the 1200 metre SANAD Trophy handicap. From stall three of eight, the eight-year-old was soon able to grab the rail under Dobbs who always looked happy with his mount seemingly travelling strongly with a handful of rivals trying hard to keep up. In the end, it was all in vain as the seasoned sprinter overpowered his foes in the lane to cement his place at the 2020 DWC Carnival for his trainer and owners Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev. Pop The Hood was two and half lengths back in second, edging runner-up spot from Portamento in third by a nose.
The evening ended with Dobbs and Watson complete the pair of winner when Golden Goal made his second start after a two-year break a winning one for owner Dale Brennan. Tracking highly regarded Chiefdom throughout, the two greys hit the stretch appearing the only two likely winners. Confidently handled, the winner took the honours by two lengths in a time that was .72 seconds faster than that of Secret Ambition in the Dubai Creek Mile,
Racing at Meydan now takes a break over the Christmas period but returns in the New Year for the first meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday 2 January 2020.