Heavily favored Mendip got up in the final strides to snatch a narrow victory in the $200,000 Burj Nahaar Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-III) at Meydan Racecourse March 3.
It was the second stakes win during the Dubai Carnival for the son of Harlan's Holiday , who also captured the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 Sponsored by Longines (UAE-III) in January. This victory was not as easy for Mendip, who needed every inch of the long Meydan homestretch to edge past Zafeen Speed for the win.
Partnered once again by Frankie Dettori, Mendip was reserved in mid-pack as Famous Warrior and Snaafy went to the front. The grey As De Trebol ran third, with Zafeen Speed and Mendip running just behind in fourth and fifth, respectively.
The order remained unchanged for much of the race, as Famous Warrior continued to lead through somewhat slow fractions. Turning for home, the Doug Watson-trainee still held a one length advantage over Snaafy, with As De Trebol inching ever closer along the rail. Dettori was asking Mendip for more but getting little response, and it looked as though the 4-year-old colt would not finish in the top three.
With two furlongs left to run, Famous Warrior had had enough and threw in the towel, as Snaafy and As De Trebol assumed command. The two ran in tandem for a few strides, but As De Trebol soon poked his nose in front and began to edge clear.
Both Zafeen Speed and Mendip were in full flight out in the center of the course and they reeled in As De Trebol in deep stretch. The pair continued to battle it out to the wire, with Mendip finally grinding out the win by a hard-fought neck. As De Trebol was able to hold on for third, finishing a half-length behind Zafeen Speed.
Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:36.77 over the Tapeta surface.
Dettori told reporters after the race, “He wasn’t carrying me as good as last time for some reason, but his class got him through. I wasn’t quite happy halfway through the race but we got the job done.”
Mendip is trained by Saeed bin Surroor for owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum. The dark bay or brown colt was bred in Kentucky by Jayeff B Stables and is out of Well Spring, by Coronado's Quest. Well Spring is a daughter of multiple stakes winner Chaposa Springs, who captured both the Test Stakes (gr. I) and Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) during her racing career.