Shea Shea scorches the turf in the Al Quoz Sprint.

Shea Shea scorches the turf in the Al Quoz Sprint.

Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins

Shea Shea Smashes His Meydan Course Record

The National Emblem gelding will be pointed to Royal Ascot after Al Quoz Sprint win.

Shea Shea showed there was plenty of speed in his 5-year-old legs as he sizzled to a course record-setting victory in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored by Emirates NBD (UAE-IT) on the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) undercard March 30 at Meydan.

In a stunning display of brilliant acceleration, the National Emblem gelding flew past 10-year-old Joy And Fun in the closing stages to win the turf event by three-quarters of length under Christophe Soumillon. Eagle Regiment finished third, another three-quarters of a length back.

Trained by Mike de Kock, Shea Shea came into the race having won the Meydan Sprint by 2 1/2 lengths from Sole Power while lowering the course standard for 1,000 meters (about five furlongs) to :57.02 on the March 9 Super Saturday card. He smashed his own record for the distance in the Al Quoz Sprint when bursting clear late to win in :56.41.

"I'm not surprised to win a race like this after his last run because that race was as good as this one," Soumillon said after the Al Quoz Sprint. "I was confident. He likes to come late and catch them on the line and it worked out perfectly."

Shea Shea was the 4-5 favorite in North American pools hosted by AmWest Entertainment.

Soumillon bided his time on Shea Shea, who settled behind the front-runners on the far side in the early stages before switching to the center of the course to wear down Joy And Fun for the narrow win.

Tye Angland said Joy And Fun ran well in defeat to edge Eagle Regiment for second, with Sole Power fourth.

"It was so close; he ran so well," he said. "He felt like the winner the whole way. I could see Shea Shea coming and he was just too good."

U.S.-based runners Varsity and Great Attack finished sixth and 11th, respectively, in the full field of 16.

De Kock enjoyed a second win on the card after taking the Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) with Soft Falling Rain.

A two-time group I winner in his native South Africa, Shea Shea will be pointed to the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June.

Shea Shea, who is campaigned by Brian Joffe and Myron Berzack, was bred by Klawervlei Stud out of the stakes-winning Jallad mare Yankee Clipper.