By Jon Lees
UAE: French jockey Ryan Curatolo believes he has a chance to end his debut season in Dubai in a blaze of glory when UAE 2,000 Guineas winner Mouheeb tackles the UAE Derby on the Dubai World Cup card.
World traveller Curatolo, 28, swapped Singapore for the UAE when he secured the job as first jockey at Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum’s Jebel Ali Stables run by trainer Nicholas Bachalard.
Bachalard had a string of untapped talent from which emerged Mouheeb, a three-year-old son of US stallion Flatter who has won two of his three starts.
Making his Meydan debut in January, Mouheeb finished a head behind Godolphin’s Rebel’s Romance in the UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial and the following month ran on strongly to claim the UAE 2,000 Guineas by a neck. The colt will be one of two Dubai World Cup night rides for Curatolo who also partners Brraq in the feature race for Arabs, the Kahayla Classic.
“I am so delighted to be part of Dubai World Cup night and I believe we have a chance,” said Curatolo. “We are not alone in the race, but we are going there to do the best we can and I think we are capable of doing it.
“We do believe he can handle the extra distance because when he won the UAE Guineas I had trouble pulling him up.”
Bachalard sidestepped the Saudi Derby with Mouheeb to give him more time between his races. Pink Kamehameha, Cowan, New Treasure and Rebel’s Romance, who filled the first four places in Riyadh, now line up at Meydan.
Brraq, winner of two rounds of the Maktoum Challenge for Arabians, will be among the leading local hopes for the Kahayla Classic.
“Brraq won a G1 last time out impressively,” said Curatolo. “Obviously there are horses from Saudi Arabia and some from Europe running this time so it is going to be more competitive but it will be an advantage to have won over the track.”
Dubai is the latest of a string of successful riding stints for Marseille-born Curatolo whose career developed in the United States where he earned an Eclipse Award nomination as an 18-year-old apprentice. He has since ridden in Japan, Macau, South Korea, Singapore, plus other parts of the Middle East, amassing around 500 winners. He has gained 14 success during the UAE season.
“When I took the job we knew we had some good pedigrees in the barn but we were never sure we would find a horse like Mouheeb,” said Curatolo. “I am really pleased with my first season. I arrived here as a new face so people didn’t know my name but I think I have shown I am good enough.”
UAE Derby betting (Ladbrokes): 9-2 Panadol, 7 France Go De Ina, Mouheeb, Pink Kamehameha, Takeru Pegasus, 8 Mnasek, 9 Speight’spercomete, 10 Rebel’s Romance, Soft Whisper, 12 El Patriota, 16 Ambivalent, 20 Lugamo, New Treasure, 50 Fire Group