Mushreq rolls to the win in the Al Fahidi Fort.

Mushreq rolls to the win in the Al Fahidi Fort.

Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins

Mushreq Wins Al Fahidi Fort in Breakthrough

Group I-placed in South Africa, Sheikh Hamdan's runner earned his first stakes win.

Mushreq will continue on a path toward the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) next month after a convincing win Feb. 21 at Meydan in the $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort Sponsored by Saeed and Mohammed al Naboodah Group (UAE-II).

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's homebred Flying Spur gelding defeated stablemates Musir and Master of Hounds with devastating ease, coasting to a 3 3/4-length win while earning a breakthrough stakes victory. He covered 1,600 meters (about one mile) in a quick 1:36.06 under Paul Hanagan.

"The next step is to make sure he gets into the Dubai Duty Free (on March 30)," trainer Mike de Kock said of his 5-year-old runner, "and that would be a crack at the Jebel Hatta (UAE-II, March 9 at Meydan)."

Across the Rhine rushed past the field to a clear lead after the first furlong but faltered in the stretch as Musir gained command briefly on the rail with 300 meters to run. He could not hang on to his advantage as Mushreq bid strongly from mid-division and flew down in the center of the track to wrest control in the final furlong. He won at 7-to-2 odds in North American pools hosted by Kentucky-based AmWest Entertainment.

Master of Hounds, who tracked early leaders, had a mild rally in response to Mushreq and could only chase him to the finish line to take second, a short head in front of Iguazu Falls. Musir held on for fourth in the 10-horse field. Mandaean, the even-money favorite, raced near the back of the field and never threatened in a sixth-place finish.

Australian-bred Mushreq has four wins, a second, and a third from 15 career starts. Racing exclusively in South Africa to begin his career, he placed at the top level as a 2-year-old in 2011, finishing second in the Zulu Kingdom Golden Horseshoe (SAf-I). He was making his fifth start at this season's Dubai World Cup Carnival and scored his first Meydan win Jan. 31 before finishing sixth to Hunter's Light in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (UAE-II) in his previous start Feb. 7.

Mushreq is out of the stakes-placed Jeune mare Alharir from the family of Australian group I winner and important sire Snippets.