African Story took command in mid-stretch and pulled away to easily win the $200,000 Burj Nahaar Sponsored by Emirates Sky Cargo (UAE-III) at Meydan Racecourse March 10.
The eight-furlong contest was one of six stakes races held on the “Super Saturday” card at Meydan, which serves as a dress rehearsal for the $27-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) day card March 31.
All eyes were on Mike de Kock’s Musir, the 1-2 favorite who had won three straight stakes races, including victories in the Al Rashidiya Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IIT) and Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 1 Sponsored by Etisalat (UAE-III).
African Story, a 5-year-old gelding by Pivotal trained by Saeed bin Suroor, entered the Burj Nahaar off a narrow neck defeat to stablemate Sandagiyr in the Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III) Feb. 9.
At the start, African Story went to the lead under Frankie Dettori. He was quickly joined by Le Drakkar and Snaafy, and the three horses raced in tandem through the first furlong. Musir was saving ground along the inside rail in eighth, only four lengths off the lead.
After two furlongs, Dettori eased African Story off the pace and settled him behind Le Drakkar and Snaafy, content to let the gelding relax and make one late move. As the field entered the homestretch African Story made his bid, cruising past the leading pair and pulling away through the stretch to win by four lengths.
Snaafy held on for second by a short head over the late-closing Musir. Final time for the mile was 1:35.93 over the Tapeta main track.
African Story was bred in England by Darley and races for Godolphin. He is out Blixen, a stakes-placed daughter of Gone West. African Story’s second dam is Danish, winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Invitational Challenge Cup (gr. IT).
Mickdaam Cruises in Al Bastakiya
In the first stakes race on Saturday’s card, Mickdaam took the lead at the top of the stretch and cruised home to win listed $250,000 Al Bastakiya Sponsored by Emirates by 2 1/4 lengths under Christophe Soumillon. The 9 1/2-furlong contest is the second leg in the UAE Triple Crown.
Mike de Kock trains the 3-year-old son of Dubawi for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, who entered the race off a runner-up finish to Kinglet in the UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III) Feb. 9.
Surfer closed late to finish second, with Counterglow another 1 1/2 lengths further back in third. Kinglet was never a factor and finished seventh.
Final time for the race was 1:59.76 over the Tapeta main track.
Mickdaam was bred in Ireland by Victor Stud Bloodstock Ltd. He is out of Ribot's Guest, by Be My Guest.
Invincible Ash Determined Winner of Meydan Sprint
Invincible Ash came from off the pace to win the $175,000 Meydan Sprint by a short head over Sole Power. The five-furlong turf dash serves as a prep for the Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-IT) March 31.
Winless in five previous starts this season at Meydan, the 7-year-old mare by Invincible Spirit benefitted from a cagey ride by Jamie Spencer. The rider kept the mare well off the early pace and produced her with a late rally in deep stretch to nab the victory.
Nocturnal Affair finished another half-length back in third, as Regally Ready faded late to finish 13th as the heavy favorite. Final time for the five furlongs was 59.28 over the good turf course.
Michael Halford trains Invincible Ash for owner P.J. Condron. Invincible Ash was bred in Ireland by Sandra Maye. She is out of Fully Fashioned, a winning daughter of Brief Truce.