By Nicholas Godfrey
Meydan’s annual Super Saturday card – featuring two G1s, a G2, three G3s and a Listed race – is a full-scale dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup meeting on March 27. Here’s some stuff you might like to know after Lord Glitters stole the show – plus videos and tweets.
What’s going on?
Jebel Hatta: Lord Glitters is ‘horse of a lifetime’
Trainer David O’Meara was left singing the praises of Lord Glitters after the veteran had landed the second G1 win of his long career by charging home between horses in the Jebel Hatta.
The popular grey’s other top-level success came in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June 2019. “I’m absolutely over the moon,” said O’Meara, who is based at Upper Helmsley in North Yorkshire. “To win a Group 1 as an eight-year-old – he’s been an unbelievable horse for us. He’s the horse a lifetime, really.”
Dubai Turf next for Lord Glitters
Lord Glitters clearly loves Meydan, where he also won the G2 Singspiel over course and distance on opening night at this year’s carnival in January before coming third in last month’s Al Rashidiya.
He was also third behind the great Japanese mare Almond Eye in the most recent running of the Dubai Turf in 2019 and that G1 event will provide his next target on March 27.
“Why not? It’s huge money, so absolutely,” said O’Meara. “He was third in the race two years ago. Fillies finished first, second and fourth and he was giving them all 5lb and was only beaten a length and three-quarters.”
‘Geoff will be looking down very pleased’
Lord Glitters carries the colours of the late Geoff Turnbull and his wife Sandra. “It’s great for the Turnbull family,” said O’Meara, speaking to At The Races. “Geoff’s son runs the job now and I’m sure Geoff will be looking down very pleased.”
Al Suhail now ‘spot on’ for Dubai Turf – Appleby
Having his first run since winning the Bahrain Trophy at the Newmarket July meeting, Al Suhail took the lead in the Jebel Hatta before getting tired and drifting out towards the right in the closing stages and coming third.
“He is entitled to come forward for his first run in a while and hopefully it will put him spot on for the Dubai Turf,” said Charlie Appleby.
Salute The Soldier 6-1 for Dubai World Cup
Salute The Soldier confirmed his status as a leading contender for the Dubai World Cup on March 6 when stepping up in trip to win Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge – the race in which Thunder Snow was second in both 2018 and 2019 before winning the $12m highlight.
Ladbrokes offer 6-1 (from 12) about the six-year-old after he made all under a canny ride from Meydan specialist Adrie de Vries to win this $390,000 contest.
Dubai World Cup betting (Ladbrokes): 7-2 Mystic Guide, 5 Military Law, 6 Jesus’ Team, Salute The Soldier, Tacitus, 9 Cafe Pharoah, 12 Sleepy Eyes Todd, 16 Chuwa Wizard, Max Player, Military March, 20 bar.
Seven overseas wins in seven meetings
Salute The Soldier is one of only four overseas horses to score at the abbreviated seven-meeting Dubai Carnival of 2021, though three of them (Equilateral, Lord Glitters and Salute The Soldier himself) have won twice.
The other one is Uruguay’s El Patriota, third behind UAE Derby hope Panadol in the Al Bastakiya, the middle leg of the UAE Triple Crown.
Salute The Soldier started life in Britain with Clive Cox, for whom he won valuable handicaps at Goodwood and Ascot as a four-year-old. The son of Aussie sire Sepoy, sold out of Cox’s yard for 380,000gns at Tattersalls Horses-in-Training Sale in October 2019, has won four times altogether in Dubai in the last two seasons.
He was a second G1 success in Dubai for his Bahraini-based trainer Fawzi Nass, who landed the Golden Shaheen with Krypton Factor in 2012.
Sheema Classic for Walton Street after Godolphin 1-2-3-4
Three of the last four winners of the Dubai Sheema Classic have come via winning the City of Gold in the shape of Postponed (2016), Hawkbill (2018) and Old Persian (2019).
Charlie Appleby also trained the 2020 winner Loxley, denied a chance on World Cup night by COVID-19, but Walton Street will get his chance after leading home a 1-2-3-4 for Godolphin in the G2 trial.
“He has shown a progressive profile and won’t look out of place in the Sheema Classic,” suggested Appleby. “We know that we will probably be running around for a place against the top horses but he ticks a lot of boxes, with home advantage and holding the track record over the course and distance.”
Double for Doug and Dobbs
Six-time UAE champion Doug Watson took a pair of Group races on the dirt in the middle of the card as Canvassed flew home late to deny Good Effort (set really strong pace) in the Mahab Al Shimaal before Meydan specialist Midnight Sands made a victorious comeback in a competitive-looking Burj Nahaar. Pat Dobbs rode both.
Back with Watson after a spell in the States, Midnight Sands yet again showed his liking for the Meydan dirt, on which he has now won six times, having won five between 2019 and 2020.
Although the five-year-old was stepping out of handicap company here for the first time, frankly there isn’t a world of difference in class when it comes to Meydan Group races. The Godolphin Mile beckons, while stablemate Canvassed – who got up in the final stride – goes for the Golden Shaheen.
Al Quoz on agenda for Final Song
Frankie Dettori got on the scoresheet as Final Song just held on in the G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint.
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: “She is a tough, genuine filly and very versatile regarding trip and distance. This 1200m on turf really suits her and the Al Quoz Sprint will be next.”
Shall we talk about it?
Salem Bin Ghadayer (Panadol’s trainer): “Obviously he is an inexperienced horse, so we brought him here to give him another race before the UAE Derby. He will have learned a lot more today because he had a wide draw whereas, last time, he had a low draw and everything was a lot simpler. He is a horse we have always liked and we are delighted he has shown his talent on the track because he has always worked like a very nice horse.”
Mickael Barzalona (Panadol’s jockey):“He is the kind of horse we want on this kind of surface, especially in Meydan. Today he felt even greener than on his first race, so I really appreciate that he had a second run this season before going for the UAE Derby. He does the distance well, he has got some good talent, and we will see whether he is able to perform on World Cup night.”
William Buick (Walton Street’s jockey): “He is just in really good form and the team has done really well with him. When horses reach that age they need that extra love and care. He has managed really well, and he is a really happy horse. We were a little slow away from the gate and I was a bit worried because he was a bit different than what he was the last time. But we got a good pitch and the race worked out really well.
“This race is a very good guide for the Sheema, but he hasn’t quite got the same profile as Hawkbill or Old Persian had when they won this race. This horse has a lot to live up to reach those heights, but he has a lot going for him.”
Pat Dobbs (Canvassed’s jockey): “I didn’t think I was going to get him ‘til the last three yards. I must have had four lengths to make up, but the fractions were very quick so Frankie just slowed in the last 100 yards.”
Pat Dobbs (Midnight Sands’s jockey): “He did everything right. He jumped super tonight from his draw and I was there to get him into a good position early, but they were going pretty hard, so I just took him back a little and got him into a nice rhythm. Once he switches to his off, he found a couple of lengths. He has improved – he has had to straighten up an awful lot from having been to America, he is really super, and fingers crossed he gets there in one piece.”
Doug Watson (trainer of Canvassed and Midnight Sands): “Canvassed and Midnight Sands were fantastic. I thought Canvassed was very impressive the way he stuck his head out at the wire. Midnight Sands was a very nice surprise. “
David O’Meara (Lord Glitters’s trainer): “To win a Group 1 as an eight-year-old – he’s been an unbelievable horse for us. He’s the horse a lifetime, really. They haven’t gone very quick and he’s been wide throughout. He took a while to get going, but won well in the end. The horse is having a great year with two wins and a third. Matt Ennis is out there with him and is doing a great job.”
Daniel Tudhope (Lord Glitters’s jockey): “We didn’t go very quick, we just went steady. I was just trying to keep an eye on William (Buick) and Al Suhail, the danger horse. I was a bit wide, but I wasn’t too worried about that, I was more worried about getting a clear run, and when William’s horse shifted to the right, it probably helped. He is an eight-year-old but he still has ability and looks a big danger in the Dubai Turf.”
Charlie Appleby (trainer of Al Suhail and Art Du Val): “Al Suhail pulled up fine afterwards and is just an inexperienced horse at this level. He was fresh today and over-travelled a bit early on before coming into the race nicely in the straight. He ended up getting a bit tired in the last 100 yards.
“Art Du Val has produced another excellent effort and deserves to have one of these big races come his way. He has been a good, solid campaigner all season.”
Adrie de Vries (Salute The Soldier’s jockey): “I expected the pace to be set from the outside but he jumped well, and the guys next to me didn’t want it so I was happy to lead. I got my own pace. He is just getting better, and he is so much fun. He is a great character – there is always something special about him. He didn’t want to go to the start today, he has his tricks in the morning as well. I think he still has got a bit left in the tank, he continues to improve and I hope we have him spot on for the big day.”
Fawzi Nass (Salute The Soldier’s trainer): “He showed us last year that he absolutely glides on the Meydan dirt, and distance wise he always showed he would stay a lot further. He was actually never built as a sprinter as you can see. Luckily it paid off going the extra couple of furlongs.
“When you have a horse that has already qualified for the Dubai World Cup, we did think why take a risk or running a race where could get beaten. But we thought about it and it is pretty long gap from his last race to Dubai World Cup day, and the horse is quite enthusiastic, and we thought why not run him today.”
Frankie Dettori (Final Song’s jockey): “She is very honest and I had a good lead from the speed on my side. She actually stays seven furlongs, but she also likes to have a target. I got to a point where she wanted to go, and with sprinters you don’t want to let them down. I probably went a little too soon, but I got three lengths and that was enough to win the race.”