U.S. Bred Conroy Three-Peats in Group III at Nad Al Sheba

by Jason Ford
Adi Selvaratnam's amazing Conroy, a 6-year-old gelded son of Gone West, landed his third consecutive Mahab Al Shimaal (UAE-III) over six furlongs at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night.

A bargain purchase at the end of season sale here in Dubai in 2002 – when he cost about £6,000, he was registering his sixth career win and has been an amazing acquisition for trainer Selvaratnam and owner Mohammed Al Jamali.

He made virtually every yard of the running, under Frankie Dettori, as he did in the previous two seasons, under Gary Hind and Kerrin McEvoy respectively.

He was tenth in the Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) on World Cup night last year and had three unsuccessful starts in the USA over the summer. His trainer is understandably delighted to have his stable star back

"It is great to have him back in the yard and to win this race three years on the trot is unbelievable," said Selvaratnam. "He is so tough – every time they came to him he found more. He is a real star."

Conroy, bred in the United States by Darley, is the first foal out of group III winner Crystal Gazing, a daughter of El Gran Senor who was also placed in the 1,000 Guineas.

Ryan Moore landed his third feature race of the Carnival when Mazin Al Kurdi's Cherry Pickings ran out an easy winner of the Listed Burj Nahaar over a mile. The 7-year-old gelded son of Miner's Mark, rested for two months having won three out of four starts early in the season, once asked to go about his business settled the matter in strides and ran out a convincing winner.

Moore said, "He is a very tough horse and has been freshened up nicely. He is an improving and progressive type and was always travelling well. I was always confident once I hit the front."

Cherry Pickings, bred in the United States by Bradyleigh Farms, was recording his eighth career win and is a half-brother to four winners, including the grade III scorer Western Echo.

Their dam, Cherry d'Or, a winning daughter of Eastern Echo, is a Cassaleria half-sister to the grade I winner Back Bay Barrister.

Willie Supple was seen at his very best on Jerry Barton's Saudi Arabian challenger Petit Paris in the nine-furlong Al Bastikiya. Nobody wanted to make the running so Supple took his Chilean-bred mount to the front and the dup never saw another rival.

A 3-year-old son of Hussonet, he reversed UAE 2,000 form with both Little Jim (3rd here) and Lundy's Liability (2nd) under his shrewd pilot.

Supple explained: "I was quite happy to be allowed an easy lead and we were always travelling well. I knew he had plenty in the tank as we came into the straight and he has kept on well. It was a good performance."

A group II winner in his native land, Petit Paris is the first recorded foal out of Petite France, a group II winning daughter of Roy.

French raider Fair Mix was the impressive winner of the Dubai City of Gold (UAE-III) over 12-furlongs on the turf under Olivier Peslier. The 6-year-old son of Linamix, under a group I penalty, could not have run a better trial for the Sheema Classic on the big night and clearly impressed his jockey: "I knew I was on the class horse in the race and we were always travelling well. He has done it in good style."

Fair Mix is a full-brother to Fairly Gret who is the dam of the Stakes winner Fairly Ransom, runner-up in the 2003 Hollywood Derby (gr. I).

The finish of the night was in the Jebel Hatta (UAE-III) as Surveyor and Vespone, the two with group I penalties, fought out a titanic struggle to the line. Godolphin's Vespone, under Dettori, was passed by Mike De Kock's Surveyor (Weichong Marwing).

However, Dettori's mount fought back gamely and the pair flashed together. De Kock's charge, a 4-year-old gelded son of Western Winter, prevailed by the narrowest of margins to gain a deserved success.

The trainer explained: "He has been a great servant in the Carnival, having been second and third. Marwing has given him a great ride as he cannot hit the front too soon."

Dettori was pleased with the runner-up: "The turning track suited much more than the straight of Newmarket last time (when last in the Champion Stakes on his Godolphin debut). At least he showed that to be all wrong."

A group I winner in his native land, Surveyor is by far the best progeny out of his dam, the unraced Crescent Fields who is a Northfields half-sister to the group I Argentinian winner Lord At War. This is the family of Argentinian group I winners Luna Real and Festin – the latter also winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Oaklawn Handicap.

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