Victory Moon Wins and Other Dubai Racing Action
Date Posted: 2/12/2004 2:19:54 PM
Last Updated: 2/13/2004 10:42:06 AM

Victory Moon, convincing winner in Dubai.
Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins
Victory Moon, winner of both the UAE 2,000 Guineas and Derby in 2003, returned to the scene of his greatest triumphs when winning the second round of the Maktoum Challenge (UAE-III) at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night.

A 4-year-old son of Al Mufti, Victory Moon was only traveling adequately throughout most of the race as Willie Supple made the running on St Expedit with Frankie Dettori tracking him on Godolphin's Inamorato.

Dettori went for home in the straight but once jockey Weichong Marwing asked Victory Moon to go after his old rival, there was only going to be one outcome and he ran out a convincing winner, reversing first round form with State Shinto (who was unsighted on this occasion) and Tropical Star who was an excellent third.

"We found a lot of trouble in the first leg and that mile was plenty sharp enough. There was only Inamorato to beat really on paper and he did it well," Marwing said.

Trainer Mike DeKock is dreaming of World Cup glory: "He has given him a great ride as I told him to keep off the rail. We knew he would improve from his seasonal return and we thought he would win tonight. There is still more to come and we will be back for Super Saturday and then the World Cup."

The mile maiden for 3-year-olds was won impressively by Allan Smith's debutant Dildaar under a confident Brett Doyle. The pair always looked to be traveling well and quickened away well in the last two furlongs to land the spoils.

A son of Woodman, Dildaar was bred by Tom Van Meter and led out unsold at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale at $57,000. He changed hands at last year's Tattersalls Breeze-Up Sale for 25,000gns with David Metcalfe signing the docket.

He is a half-brother to the listed-placed Summer Delight and caught the eye when breezing up Newmarket's Rowley Mile racecourse.

The trainer explained: "He has been ready to run for a while but these 3-year-old maidens have not been filling. Brett said he has traveled well off a slow pace. There are few options for this type of horse and we may come back on Super Saturday or just go straight for the UAE Derby."

Smith looked as though he would be returning to the winner's enclosure 30 minutes later when his Walmooh, under Frankie Dettori, hit the front a furlong out and went away from Self Evident who had set a frantic pace in the mile handicap.

Dettori's mount had nothing left though when challenged in the last 50 yards by Burnt Ember. The victory of the 5-year-old son of Smoke Glacken, who was bred by Nutbush Farms and recording a fifth career success, put American Doug Watson, in his first season, back on top of the trainer's standings.

Watson explained: "The fast pace really suited him as Willie (Supple) says he will stay 12-furlongs and it is really hard to find his trip. I was considering the Jebel Ali Mile for him but he probably will not go there now."

Smith did complete his double in the concluding 10-furlong handicap when Emteyaz, who was never far off a modest pace, cruised to the front three furlongs out before being kicked clear by Kerrin McEvoy.

A 6-year-old son of Mark of Esteem, this was his seventh career victory and he has been a grand servant to his owner Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who was completing the same double.

The 1300m turf handicap provided the best finish of the night as Mazin Al Kurdi's Hazelhatch, under John Carroll, came from last to first to deny Butler's Boston Lodge (Ahern) in the shadow of the post. It was a third career win for the 4-year-old gelded son of Mukaddamah who won twice in Ireland for Dermot Weld.

Carroll explained: "I had to sit and suffer early on as they were going so quickly. I knew they had to come back to us off that pace and the horse has tried his heart out to get there. He was very brave."

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