'Elvis' Gives Aussies First World Cup Day Win

'Elvis' Gives Aussies First World Cup Day Win
Photo: AP/Kamran Jebreili
Elvstroem wins the Dubai Duty Free.
By Jason Ford
They always say that the best place to be when there is a slow pace is at the front. Elvstroem's win in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) over nine furlongs on grass Saturday at Nad Al Sheba was the perfect illustration.

Australia's Elvstroem jumped out in front and set a moderate gallop, which he appeared to slow even more after three furlongs, before gradually winding up the tempo in the straight. Never far away was Doug O'Neill's Whilly and this dup virtually disputed proceedings for most of the first seven furlongs.

Renowned as a fine tactician in Australia, jockey Nash Rawiller gave Tony Vasil's Elvstroem, nicknamed "Elvis" in his homeland, a superb ride to land the spoils, with O'Neill's Whilly keeping on for second under Felipe Martinez. Mike De Kock's Right Approach, who was settled in about fifth for most of the race, ran on for third in the race in which he dead-heated last year.

"My confidence grew before the race and he jumped well," Rawiller said. "It would have taken a great horse to have beaten him."

The margin of victory was 2 3/4 lengths.

"I got him nice and relaxed," said Martinez of Whilly. "I thought he could go by the other horse at any time. I was just unlucky."

A 5-year-old son of Danehill, the winner was strongly fancied for the race before disappointing badly in his previous run only two weeks ago when fourth in the Australian Cup (Aus-I) at Flemington. Clearly over those exertions, he never looked like being headed once kicked clear two furlongs out.

Trainer Vasil said, "It is a great thrill to come all this way and win. The horse has improved all week after the journey and this has been an amazing experience. He has won it well.

"It is a really long journey but this horse is so relaxed that he is ideal for traveling. He has done us and the country proud and he is so versatile – a trainer's dream!"

Vasil said he is looking at Royal Ascot as a future goal for Elvstroem.

Alkaadhem, trained by Marcus Tregoning finished fourth. His jockey Richard Hills, said, "He ran a great race. They walked early and he ran bravely. The race just lacked a good pace and he ran well. I was really pleased with his effort."

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