Game Sajjhaa Gets Up Late in Jebel Hatta
Godolphin's Sajjhaa gamely drove between horses in late stretch to deny South African champion The Apache a win in the $300,000 Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I), the finale on the Super Saturday card March 9 at Meydan.
Following a win by Hunter's Light in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-I) one race earlier to give Godolphin 200 grade or group I triumphs, Sajjhaa's determined Jebel Hatta victory in the shadow of the post started Godolphin on the path to 300.
Master of Hounds set the early tempo in the 1,800-meter Jebel Hatta (about 1 1/8 miles) on turf, and opened a sizable lead from closest pursuer City Style. As the field closed in rounding the turn, South African star mare Igugu seized control briefly before The Apache replaced her at the front with a slim advantage at the 300-meter mark.
City Style battled to the fore with Master of Hounds still in contention but Sajjhaa burst between those two in the closing stages as The Apache reasserted himself. Sajjhaa was too strong nearing the finish line, however, and The Apache to settle for second, three-quarters of a length back.
City Style held on for third, a length back in the 10-horse field. Igugu, in search of her first win since the J&B Met (SAf-I) more than a year ago, finished sixth as the 6-5 favorite in North American pools hosted by Kentucky-based AmWest Entertainment.Sajjhaa was the 7-1 fourth wagering choice.
Ridden by Mickael Barzalona, Sajjhaa was timed in 1:48.96 for her third win in as many starts at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the 5-year-old King's Best mare entered off a victory over Igugu in the Balanchine (UAE-II) Feb. 21 after beginning the year with a win in the Cape Verdi (UAE-II) Jan. 24.
Her record of sevens wins and four seconds from 16 career starts, includes a pair of listed stakes wins in England in 2010 and 2011, a group III win in Italy in 2010, and a runner-up finish to Izzi Top, a subsequent group I winner in Ireland and France, in the 2012 Betfred Middleton Stakes (Eng-II).
Bred in Great Britain by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Darley, Sajjhaa is out of the winning Darshaan mare Anaami. Grandam Noushkey was runner-up in the 1999 Vodafone Espom Oaks (Eng-I). The family also includes French and Japanese group I winner and sire Alkaased.
Overall, Godolphin won four races during the evening, including a triumph by Secret Number in the Al Bastakiya, the second jewel in the United Arab Emirates Triple Crown to start the card of seven Thoroughbred stakes. A tally by African Story in the Burj Nahaar (UAE-III) kicked off a sequence of three consecutive Godolphin wins. All four winners are trained by bin Suroor.
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