Frankyfourfingers holds on to win the Al Maktoum Challenge R2.

Frankyfourfingers holds on to win the Al Maktoum Challenge R2.

Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins

Frankyfourfingers Takes Al Maktoum Challenge

Trainer Salem Bin Ghadeyer gets first big win at Meydan; African Story runs seventh.

Frankyfourfingers edged Prince Bishop by a head to give rookie flat race trainer Salem Bin Ghadeyer a first big-race win in the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 empowered by IPIC (UAE-II) the evening of Feb. 5 at Meydan.

The middle round of the Al Maktoum Challenge series during the Dubai World Cup Carnival card, held over 1,900 meters (about 1 3/16 miles), featured African Story. The Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) defending champion finished a disappointing seventh in his first try on dirt.

Frankyfourfingers was runner-up in the first round of the Dubai World Cup prep-race series, over 1,600 meters, losing to Surfer, who was fourth this time around. The winning 5-year-old son of Sunday Break relished the step up in trip.

Stable jockey Mickael Barzalona settled Frankyfourfingers just off the speed while always traveling well, before sending his mount for home 200 meters from the wire. Frankyfourfingers opened up a clear advantage over his 10 opponents and held on well in spite of an impressive late effort from last year's Round 2 winner, Prince Bishop, ridden by William Buick. Le Bernardin finished third, 1 1/4 lengths farther back.

"He needed that first run," Barzalona said of the Jan. 8 Meydan effort. "We knew he was a lot fitter this time and had no worries about the extra 300 meters. That has really suited him.

"I imagine we will be looking at Super Saturday and, hopefully, Dubai World Cup night with him. He is a really nice horse and this is a great result for our new yard."

The 2003 winner of the Al Maktoum second-round challenge, Moon Ballad, went on to win the Dubai World Cup that year.

Owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Frankyfourfingers posted his sixth lifetime win in 17 starts. The dark bay horse was bred in France by S.C.E.A. Des Prairies out of the Kendor mare Texaloula.