Nayef Edges Tobougg in Champion Stakes

Fulfilling his previously untapped potential, Nayef ran his win steak to three by earning his first group I win in Saturday's Dubai Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket.

Nayef took advantage of a field weakened by withdrawals for next weekend's Breeder's Cup to win the 1 1/4-mile race worth $560,000. With English and Irish Derby winner Galileo and big rival Fantastic Light running instead at Belmont Park, Saturday's field of 13 at Newmarket lost much of its strength.

Nayef, the 11-4 favorite, ran well under Richard Hills to overtake Tobougg and win by three-quarters of a length. Indian Creek, a 66-1 shot, was four lengths farther back.

The win marks the sixth in nine starts for the M. P. N. Tregoning trainee, who runs in the colors of Hamdan al Maktoum. Previously, Nayef (Gulch--Height of Fashion, by Bustino) won three group III stakes, including the Royal Court Theatre Cumberland Lodge and Select Stakes in his two most recent outings. Shadwell Farm bred Nayef in Kentucky.

Godolphin's racing manager, Simon Crisford, was pleased with Tobougg's performance in finishing second.

"He ran a super race and he will definitely stay in training next year," Crisford said. "He will go to Dubai and have an easy winter and come back for racing on the grass next year. It was a very positive run which gives us a lot of hope and encouragement for next year. He was third in the Derby, fourth in the Eclipse and now second in the Champion Stakes. He has not won this year but he will do so next year -- winning lots of big races."

Crisford said the decision on which Breeders' Cup race Sakhee will run in has yet to be made.

"I have been talking to the Sheikhs today and they want to see how the horses are until they have to decide," he said. "Any combination is possible."

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