Anaerobio, Soumillon Capture Al Fahidi Fort
Anaerobio stalked just behind pacesetter Pearl Flute before seizing the lead in the stretch to win the $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-II) Jan. 23 at Meydan Racecourse.
A former Argentine champion, the 6-year-old son of Catcher In The Rye won by three-quarters of a length from Mshawish, who rallied strongly in the final 300 meters to snatch second from French group winner Pearl Flute.
Ridden by French champion Christophe Soumillon, Anaerobio finished the 1,400-meter (about seven-furlong) turf test in a brisk 1:23.36, just a fifth of a second off the course record.
"We had a perfect run just behind the lead," Soumillon said.
The 3-1 favorite in North American pools hosted by AmWest Entertainment, Anaerobio paid $8.20 and $4. Mshawish returned $4.60.
Trained by Mike de Kock for Mohammed Khaleel, Anaerobio tallied a third straight victory at Meydan and improved his career line to 8-3-4 in 23 career starts. He came into the race with an impressive 1 3/4-length triumph over Iguazu Falls going the same distance two weeks ago. That win marked his first start in more than 10 months since a victory Feb. 28 at Meydan, also at 1,400 meters, which snapped an 11-race winless stretch dating from his win in the 2010 Jockey Club (Arg-I) in his native country.
He kept his Meydan momentum going, stalking Pearl Flute from second and third along the rail with Mustaheel in close attendance. Pearl Flute opened a clear lead entering the stretch, but Soumillon was ready to fire with Anaerobio and guided him off the rail past Mustaheel to take charge with 200 meters to run. Mshawish came on well under Frankie Dettori but was too late to catch the winner.
Mshawish outfinished third-place finisher Pearl Flute by three-quarters of a length, with Iguazu Fall 3 1/4 lengths back in fourth in the 14-horse field. Neither South African champion Heavy Metal nor Royal Ascot winner Gale Force Ten were threats, finishing a respective 10th and 13th.
De Kock, who is in South Africa for the Cape premier yearling sale, won the Al Fahidi Fort for a record sixth time. He first took the race in 2003 with subsequent Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) winner Ipi Tombe and won the last two editions with Viscount Nelson in 2012 and Mushreq last year.
Anaerobio was a group I-winning juvenile honored as Argentina's champion 3-year-old male after capturing the 2010 Dos Mil Guineas (Arg-I) and Jockey Club (Arg-I). He was bred by La Madrugada out of the Potrillon mare Potra Anala.
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