Vercingetorix Co-Stars on Super Saturday
Vercingetorix stayed unbeaten in six career starts after joining pacesetting stablemate Anaerobio at the front in early stretch, then drawing away to capture the $300,000 Jebel Hatta (UAE-I) March 8 at Meydan.
The 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8-mile) turf race, a prep for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) March 29, was one of two group I races among seven stakes on the Dubai World Cup Carnival's Super Saturday card. The other top-level event, the $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3 (UAE-I), was won by Prince Bishop.
Vercingetorix was handy early, racing in third under Christophe Soumillon while Anaerobio set the tempo. Vercingetorix sprinted to challenge along the rail when Anaerobio moved out in the stretch and soon shook free to a 1 3/4-length triumph.
Vancouverite rallied from mid-division to take second from Anaerobio by a neck.
Trained by Mike de Kock for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, Vercingetorix finished the trip in 1:49.26 on good turf.
After winning all four starts last season, including the Greyville 2,000 (SAf-I), the son of Silvano was South Africa's champion 3-year-old male. He kept his momentum going in his Dubai debut Feb. 13, winning after more than eight months off a troubled journey from South Africa.
Bred by Klawervlei Stud out of the Desert Prince mare Great Artist, Vercingetorix sold as a yearling for R1.4 million ($205,660) at the 2011 Emperors Palace National yearling sale.
Fawzi Naas' Asmar entered the listed $250,000 Al Bastakiya a maiden but emerged a powerful six-length victor over even-money favorite Emirates Flyer.
With the victory, the Cape Cross half brother to United States champion turf female Zagora punched his ticket to the United Arab Emirates Derby (UAE-II) on Dubai World Cup night.
He tracked a trio of front-runners before Richard Hughes moved him to the lead after the opening half-mile. He controlled the running from there and pulled away in the stretch. Emirates Flyer burst from the pack and pursued, but could get no closer than second.
Najm Suhail finished third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Emirates Flyer, in the race that is the second leg of the United Arab Emirates Triple Crown.
Asmar, who is out of the Mtoto mare Zaneton, broke through for his first win in his fourth start when covering the 1,900 meters (about 1 3/16 miles) on the all-weather track.
He was bred Ireland by Eric Puerari and Oceanic Bloodstock and was bought by Oliver St. Lawrence Bloodstock $283,705 out of the Capucines consignment at the 2012 Araqana Deauville yearling sale.
Soumillon and de Kock also won the $175,000 Meydan Sprint (UAE-III) with Shea Shea, who took the stands' side rail for a second straight victory in the race.
The 6-year-old National Emblem gelding won by a head from Ahtoug, with Dux Scholar 1 1/2 lengths back in third.
Shea Shea covered 1,000 meters (about five furlongs) on turf in a swift :57.07. He set a track record of :57.02 in winning last year's edition of the race and followed up with a track record triumph in the Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-I). He will point for a repeat in the $1 million sprint on World Cup night.
After a brief stretch battle with Reynaldothewizard, Hong Kong-based Rich Tapestry edged clear to win the $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal (UAE-III) by 1 1/4 lengths.
Sent to the front at the top of the straight by Richard Mullen, Reynaldothewizard opened up a gap on his rivals but could not withstand the challenge of Rich Tapestry.
Olivier Doleuze pulled the Michael Chang-trained runner out to challenge 200 meters out and soon led, repelling a renewed challenge Reynaldothewizard.
Rich Tapestry was timed in 1:11.70 for the 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) on the all-weather track. The race is a prep of the $2 million Golden Shaheen (UAE-I) on Word Cup night.
Godolphin's Shuruq vanquished seemingly unbeatable South African champion Variety Club in the $200,000 Burj Nahar (UAE-III), storming on the outside to mow him down late and win by 1 3/4 lengths.
The Darley-bred Elusive Quality filly snapped Variety Club's nine-race winning streak in covering 1,600 meters (about one mile) under Mickael Barzalona in 1:34.34 on the all weather track. Winner of last year's United Arab Emirates Oaks (UAE-III) and United Arab Emirates One Thousand Guineas, she captured the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 1 Jan. 9 to begin the season.
Godolphin also enjoyed a win with Excellent Result, who gamely charged through rivals and caught front-runner Songcraft for a thrilling head win in the $250,000 Dubai City of Gold (UAE-II).
Excellent Result looked to have nowhere to run in the stretch, but when a gap opened Kieren Fallon rode through for the narrow victory.
The 4-year-old Shamardal colt completed 2,410 meters (about 1 1/2 miles) on turf in 2:32.87.
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