Godolphin's Second Fiddle Wins UAE Derby

Godolphin's Second Fiddle Wins UAE Derby
Photo: AP/Kamran Jebreili
Blues and Royals wins the UAE Derby during the Dubai World Cup.
By Jason Ford
Godolphin's second string Blues and Royals turned the UAE Derby (UAE-II) into a procession, winning by 12 lengths under Kerrin McEvoy in a race run at a furious gallop Saturday at Nad Al Sheba.

Godolphin's favored Shamardal finished last after being eased.

"There is a supplementary stage for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) tonight and Blues and Royal will probably be added," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford. "Shamardal could still run as he was just far too fresh and tired badly when needing the run."

Godolphin won the UAE Derby in 2000, 2001 and 2002 but Mike de Kock claimed it for the next two years with Victory Moon in 2003 and Lundy's Liability last year.

With Frankie Dettori intent on getting to the front early on with first string Shamardal and with Mike De Kock's Becrux, Ken McPeek's Durban Thunder and Mazin Al Kurdi's Gypsy Johnny all seemingly intent on doing the same, the early pace was remarkably strong.

"He was too fresh and always going too fast," Dettoir said. "If he had have kept up that speed he would have been a motorbike not a racehorse – I just could never get him to relax and not surprisingly he didn't get home."

Ted Durcan was traveling well in behind on Parole Board with the eventual winner on his inside and as the runners turned for home. The distress signals were out on warm favorite Shamardal, considered Godolphin's best shot ever in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) before the race, with stablemate Blues and Royals securing a dream run up the inside rail.

McEvoy soon established an unassailable advantage on the 3-year-old Florida-bred son of Honour And Glory who has now won two of his four starts. The victory, his first in a group race, was worth $1.2 million.

Parole Board tired and was passed for second by Bobby Frankel's Marenostrum, ridden by Patrick Valenzuela. Ned Kelly, third to Parole Board in the Al Bastakiya – the second leg of the UAE Triple Crown, took fourth.

"It was a good trip except for the winner," Valenzuela said.

Parole Board, who may be transferred to Godolphin – the decision is up to owner Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohamed Al Maktoum – could also be supplemented to the Kentucky Derby.

"Those that do run will ship out late April but we need to let the dust settle first," Crisford said.

Any Kentucky Derby aspirations of Team Valor's Becrux and Shamardal were surely blown out of the water, but the winner, bred by Cheryl Curtin, looks an interesting prospect on dirt.

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: "We were hopeful of a good run because he had been working well on the dirt and Kerrin has given him a great ride. I will have to talk to Sheikh Mohammed regarding future plans and the same with Shamardal."

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