Mental Foils Krypton Factor in Meydan Sprint
Australian group I winner Mental grabbed the lead late from Kavanagh and drew clear to a one-length victory the $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint Sponsored by Jaguar XJ (UAE-III) at Meydan Feb. 14.
The comfortable win was the second straight on the card and third for the team of Godolphin and trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. They took the Firebreak Stakes (UAE-III) with Moonwalk in Paris one race earlier on the card and the day's final race with Anatolian. The Maktoum family's racing operation tallied four wins overall on the card, which began with Kassiano's win for trainer Saeed bin Suroor in the evening's first race.
Mike de Kock's multiple South African group winner Kavanagh took over from dueling pacesetters Ganas and Ballista with 300 meters to run, but Mental launched an energetic rally from mid-division after a slow start and wore him down to triumph under Mickael Barzalona.
Krypton Factor, launching his defense of last year's Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) victory, did not quicken in the closing stages and finished third after racing in mid-division. He was the 5-to-2 co-favorite along with Mental in North American pools hosted by AmWest Entertainment.
By Darley's Central Kentucky-based sire Lonhro , who previously stood in Australia, Mental was timed in 1:10.59 for the 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) on the all-weather track. He improved his career record to eight wins, a second, and a third from 13 starts following his breakthrough top-level win over Sea Siren in the Victoria Racing Club Patinack Farm Classic (Aus-I) on turf at Flemington Nov. 10. In his race prior to that, he finished second to Sea Siren in the Sportinbet Manikato Stakes (Aus-I) on turf in October at Moonee Valley.
"His Australian form was very good and his work had been pleasing but he should improve for this run," Barzalona said of Mental, who was bred by Darley out of the Night Shift mare Intrigues. "The surface was a query but he handled it well."
Also on the card, Universal Racing's Trade Storm stormed from last after a poor start to win the Jaguar XF Trophy in the turf course record time of 1:49.06 for 2,200 meters (about 1 3/8 miles).
The 5-year-old Trade Fair horse flew down the stretch to overtake front-runner Anaerobio and draw off for a 3 3/4-length victory at 9-to-1 odds under Jamie Spencer.
Trained by David Simcock, English-bred Trade Storm rebounded from an 11th-place finish going a metric mile Jan. 24 at the Carnival and improved to four wins, two seconds, and a third from 20 career starts.
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