Hunter's Light delivered Godolphin's 200th win at the top level when he captured the $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I) on the Super Saturday card March 9 at Meydan.
The 5-year-old Dubawi horse led in a one-two-three finish for trainer Saeed bin Suroor as he defeated Kassiano and Prince Bishop while leaving U.S. turf standout Little Mike and 2012 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winner Monterosso in his wake.
Little Mike was handy throughout the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4 miles) race over Meydan's all-weather track, tracking pacesetter Daddy Long Legs from third before flashing to a short-lived lead at the 800-meter mark. Surfer took control with 400 meters left to run but Hunter's Light wound up a strong outside rally under Silvestre De Sousa. They scooted past to secure a 2 3/4-length win as Kassiano chased to the finish line.
Monterosso, who ran fourth in last year's Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 before a powerful win in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), was never a factor and finished 10th in the 14-horse field.
Hunter's Light was the 9-5 favorite in North American pools hosted by Kentucky-based AmWest Entertainment. He came in off a comfortable win over Surfer and Prince Bishop in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (UAE-II) Feb. 7. His win in Round 3, clocked in 2:03.65 earned Hunter's Light a third straight group win. He is now the early favorite for the World Cup March 30.
With the victory, Hunter's Light improved his lifetime record to nine wins, two seconds, and two thirds from 17 starts. His record includes a win in the 2012 Rose of Lancaster Stakes (Eng-III), a runner-up finish to elite runner Cirrus des Aigles in the Prix Dollar (Fr-II), and a group I race in Italy to cap last season.
Hunter's Light is out of the winning Barathea mare Portmanteau, a half sister to multiple French group winner Courteous and listed winner Scriptwriter. Second dam Dayanata is a full sister to French champion, classic winner, and leading sire Darshaan and a half sister to French group I winner and blue hen Darara, who is the dam of group I winners Dar Re Mi, Rewilding, Darazari, and Diaghilev, who raced in Hong Kong under the name River Dancer.
Hunter's Light is from the second crop of Dubawi, a son of Dubai Millennium who stands at Sheikh Mohammed's Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.