Lovely Pass Strong in Guineas Win at Meydan
Lovely Pass took over from the pacesetter in the stretch and held back a strong challenge from runner-up Shuruq and Music Chart to win the $250,000 United Arab Emirates One Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Gulf News Feb. 7 at Meydan.
The filly from the first crop of Darley's Irish-based Raven's Pass spearheaded a one-two-three finish for Godolphin as she prevailed by a half-length and covered 1,600 meters (about one mile) on the all-weather surface in 1:38.99.
Shuruq, runner-up to Music Chart in the trial for the One Thousand Guineas on Jan. 17, settled for second again, but outfinished Music Chart by 1 1/4 lengths in the main event as that rival finished third after charging from near the back of the 10-horse field.
Trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni, Lovely Pass was racing for the first time in just over five months since winning a one-mile conditions race by two lengths on Sept. 8 at Ascot. Music Chart finished fourth in that race before outbattling stablemate Shuruq to take the Guineas trial.
Ahmed Ajtebi had Lovely Pass ideally positioned in third in the U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas as Mar Mar opened a clear lead early tracked by Pure Excellence. She had a ready response when asked just over a half-mile out, edged past Mar Mar at the 200 meter mark, and hung on for the win at 9-to-1 odds, her second straight under Ajtebi.
Lovely Pass scored comfortably by 2 1/4 lengths in her career debut last May at Lingfield Park, but was winless in two subsequent races before scoring at Ascot last time out. She finished third in last year's Chesham Stakes at Ascot.
Ajtebi said the addition of cheek pieces helped his filly to focus.
"She's a nice filly but before cheek pieces, she was all over the place," he said. "We tried cheek-piecing her and I rode her at Ascot and she won nicely."
Lovely Pass was making her first start on the all-weather surface but transitioned perfectly after training on it.
"She loves it," Ajtebi said of Lovely Pass, who improved to three wins and a third from five career starts.
Impressive South African maiden winner Emotif, the 7-to-5- favorite in U.S. pools, finished fifth after a slow start. Pacesetter Mar Mar faded to fourth.
Bred in Ireland by Stowell Park Stud, Lovely Pass is one of three winners from as many starters out of English group II winner and highweight Macadamia, by Classic Cliche.
Raven's Pass, winner of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) for Darley and Princess Haya, stands at Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Kildangan Stud in Ireland. His first crop also includes Steeler, who broke the juvenile course record at Newmarket when winning the 2012 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II).
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