Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) contender Prince Bishop burst between horses to lead in the stretch and drew clear to win the $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3 (UAE-I) March 8 at Meydan Racecourse.
The race was the featured event on the Dubai World Cup Carnival's Super Saturday card of seven Thoroughbred stakes. Prince Bishop gave an inspired performance under Kieren Fallon, and he figures to be tough in the $10 million Dubai World Cup March 29.
The 7-year-old son of Dubawi defeated Sanshaawes by one length, with Surfer another three-quarters of a length back in third. Stablemate African Story, the 7-5 favorite in North American pools, was never close enough to challenge and finished eighth.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's Prince Bishop scored his first win at the top level. He came into Round 3 as the record-setting winner of the 1,900-meter (about 1 3/16 miles) Round 2 in the three-race Al Maktoum Challenge series last time out Feb 6.
A little jittery at the start, Prince Bishop broke from post 1 and Fallon settled him in midfield. Mutajare led the way, tracked by Limario, with Surfer stalking from third. Surfer was in contention in the stretch when Mutajare and Limario faded 400 meters out but he was denied second by Sanshaawes.
Fallon said he wanted to be closer to the pace early on, but Prince Bishop was edgy from standing in the gate too long.
"They went a good gallop for the first furlong then eased it up going round the turn," he said, "but I had the horse, so I was lucky."
Prince Bishop, the 4-1 second choice, completed 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on the all-weather surface in 2:04.23. He has a 9-1-3 record from 23 career starts.
Fallon and trainer Saeed bin Suroor enjoyed a back-to-back stakes double, as the pair combined to win the preceding race, the Dubai City of Gold (UAE-II) with Godolphin's Excellent Result. Bin Suroor also won the race prior to that, the Burj Nahar (UAE-III), with Shuruq.
Prince Bishop was third behind Hunter's Light in last year's Round 2 and Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge before finishing unplaced in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) on the grass on Dubai World Cup night.
Bin Suroor has won this race with three subsequent Dubai World Cup winners: Dubai Millennium (2000), Street Cry (IRE) (2002) and Electrocutionist (2006).
"We have always really liked this horse and he seems to have improved this season," Bin Suroor said of Prince Bishop. "His win in the middle round was a good one, but this was a better race and we are delighted with him.
“All being well, we will bring him back for the Dubai World Cup itself in three weeks.”
Bred in Ireland by Thurso Ltd., Prince Bishop is out of the Prospect Bay mare North East Bay. He won the 2013 September Stakes (Eng-II) on the all-weather track at Kempton, and was triumphant twice in group company in France as a 3-year-old in 2010, winning the Prix du Conseil de Paris (Fr-II) and Prix du Prince d'Orange (Fr-III) for Godolphin.