Master of Hounds, racing on the turf for the first time in over a year, led from the start to win the $300,000 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates (UAE-IT) at Meydan Racecourse March 10.
The nine-furlong turf contest was one of two group I races anchoring the seven-race “Super Saturday” card, which features the principal stepping stones to the $27 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) program March 31.
Master of Hounds, a 4-year-old son of Kingmambo, was one of three runners in the race trained by Mike de Kock. The South African-based conditioner also saddled favorite Mutahadee, who was going for this third straight win over the Meydan turf course, and River Jetez, who was making her first start since finishing third to Stacelita in the Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) last summer.
Master of Hounds, stuck on the far outside in post position 14, broke alertly under Kevin Shea and went straight to the lead. He was tracked closely by Secrecy and Pisco Sour, with Derbaas and First City sitting just behind those two. Jamie Spencer was content to let Wigmore Hall race toward the rear of the field, along with Mutahadee and Presvis, who was last early.
As the field rounded the far turn and straightened for home, Master of Hounds still held onto a one-length advantage over Secrecy. City Style launched a bid from between horses as Pisco Sour began to fade along the rail.
With a furlong left to run, City Style, ridden by Mickael Barzalona, made one last charge on the outside but couldn’t get past Master of Hounds, who crossed the wire three-quarters of a length in front.
Mutahadee finally got clear of traffic and closed belatedly to finish third, 1 1/4 lengths behind City Style. Wigmore Hall was never a factor and finished sixth, with Presvis checking in ninth.
Final time was 1:51.96 over a course rated good.
The victory in the Jebel Hatta was the first for Master of Hounds since his maiden score at Tipperary in July 2010. Despite just having the one previous win on his résumé, Master of Hounds was very competitive in top races around the world. The former Aiden O’Brien trainee was beaten just a nose in the 2011 UAE Derby (UAE-II) before going on to finish a good fifth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
After a disappointing 10th-place finish in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), Master of Hounds was sold privately by Coolmore to Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. Master of Hounds had made three previous starts at the Carnival prior to the Jebel Hatta, placing once and finishing third on two occasions.
Master of Hounds was bred in Kentucky by the Silk and Scarlet Syndicate. He is the second foal out of Silk and Scarlet, a group II-winning daughter of Sadler’s Wells. The mare’s first foal, Eishin Apollon (by Giant's Causeway ), won the Mile Championship (Jpn-IT) last November.