Jalil Springs Surprise in Dubai
Photo: Andrew Watkins
Jalil stormed his way into the Dubai World Cup picture with a decisive 1 1/2-length victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3.
Jalil stormed his way into the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) picture with a decisive 1 1/2-length victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3 (UAE-II) at Nad al Sheba March 6.

The 4-year-old son of Storm Cat, a full brother to grade I turf star After Market, was purchased for $9.7 million at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale and sent to Europe to race for Godolphin. The colt broke his maiden in his third start, winning a 10-furlong event last June. 

Jalil has made quite a transformation since being switched from the turf to dirt, losing his first start by just a head before rattling off three straight wins. The win in the Maktoum Challenge was the colt’s first stakes victory. In seven career starts, the Saeed bin Suroor-trainee has won or placed in six.

Frankie Dettori had Jalil running comfortably in fifth throughout the early stages, just off the pace set by outsiders Mutasallil and Rohaani. Favorite Lucky Find, winner of the Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 (UAE-III) Feb. 7, stalked the leaders from third, with Brazilian-bred Gloria de Campeo running in fourth.

Mutasallil continued to show the way as the field entered the sweeping turn for home. Lucky Find moved into second under Kevin Shea as Rohaani faded, then quickly took the lead as the field entered the long straightaway. He was soon challenged on the outside by Jalil, and the pair raced as a team for several strides. 

Jalil took command with 200 meters left and drew off to a comfortable win. Gloria de Campeo just got up for second, a length in front of a tiring Lucky Find. Final time for the 10 furlongs was a respectable 2:00.35.

Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford was understandably pleased after the race telling reporters, “he will go straight for the World Cup and he deserves his chance there now. It is great that the team’s patience has been rewarded, and he’s justifying our faith.”

Crisford added, “He’s learning to be a really good horse, and he clearly loves the sand, and the further he goes, the better he is.”

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