Monterosso Leads Godolphin Sweep in World Cup
by Mary Schweitzer
Date Posted: 3/31/2012 2:06:39 PM
Last Updated: 4/3/2012 1:52:36 PM

Mickael Barzalona celebrates victory in the Dubai World Cup aboard Monterosso.
Photo: Mathea Kelley

Monterosso took command in mid-stretch and powered home to easily win the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I) at Meydan Racecourse March 31.

The 5-year-old horse by Dubawi provided Godolphin trainer Mahmood al Zarooni with a one-two sweep in the race, as their Capponi held on to take second. Godolphin won the World Cup for the fifth time in the race's 17-year history.

Monterosso finished third to Victoire Pisa in the World Cup last year, beaten just three-quarters of a length. In his only start since then, he finished fourth to his stablemate Capponi in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3 Sponsored by Emirates (UAE-I) March 10.

Ridden confidently by Mickael Barzalona, Monterosso raced in mid-division as Master of Hounds and So You Think went to the lead. Japan’s Transcend, second in this race last year, got to the front before the field entered the first turn, and continued to lead the runners into the backstretch. Capponi moved into second, with So You Think on the rail in third.

As the field entered the far turn, Capponi had taken the lead from Transcend as So You Think moved up the inside rail to take second. Those two ran in tandem for a few strides, but Capponi quickly put So You Think away and briefly appeared to be headed for victory. However, Barzalona had Monterosso in full gear on the outside and the pair swept past So You Think and Capponi to take command with over a furlong to run.

Monterosso continued to pull away through the stretch and won easily by three lengths while being geared down as Barzalona stood high in the saddle and waved his whip in celebration several lengths before the wire. Capponi, ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi, held on for second, a half-length in front of a late-closing Planteur. So You Think was another half-length back in fourth.

“I couldn’t believe it when no one was coming after me (in the straight),” said Barzalona, a 20-year-old native of Corsica who is based in France. “This is a dream. I have no words to describe what I feel right now. “

Asked about his exuberant celebration on the line, he said: “I just had to, I had no choice.”

The final time for the 10 furlongs over the Tapeta main track was 2:02.67.

While Godolphin’s previous Dubai World Cup winners were prepared by Saeed bin Suroor, Monterosso and Capponi gave their Dubai based trainer Al Zarooni his biggest success.

A pleased Al Zarooni told reporters after the race, “I’m very happy that we won the race and got a one-two. The whole team worked very hard; we lost a horse in the beginning (Fox Hunt in the Dubai Gold Cup) so I thought our bad luck had gone.”

“This is great for the whole team,” he added.

Monterosso was bred in England by Darley. He is out of Porto Roca, a stakes winning daughter of Barathea.

Both North American challengers disappointed, with Royal Delta finishing ninth, and Game On Dude coming home 12th.

Jockey Jose Lezcano said there were excuses for Royal Delta.

“We had a good position but in the middle of the turn the horse in front of me quit so I had to wait a little longer than I wanted to," he said. "She gave me a good run at the end but this surface (all-weather) is a little different – it’s a little sticky.”

Jockey Chantal Sutherland, who rode Game On Dude, claimed her mount was a victim of circumstances.

“It was a good trip considering everything that happened," she said "The horse next to him (Mendip) was acting up in the gate, so he thought they were going to break (start). At home we break quicker, so he went to go forward and then he sat down. He just got a little frazzled after not breaking so great. Then he relaxed. He was good on the backside, he just wanted to get into his rhythm. So I did what I always do and let him try to get there and I waited. The track is very tiring.”

 



Copyright © 2014 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SUBSCRIBE to The Blood-Horse magazine TODAY!