Capponi cruises to victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3.

Capponi cruises to victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3.

Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins

Capponi Cruises in Third Al Maktoum Challenge

Son of Medicean scores by four lengths in group I event from Meydan Racecourse.

Capponi outclassed his 13 rivals to cruise home an easy winner of the $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3 Sponsored by Emirates (UAE-I) at Meydan Racecourse March 10.

The 10-furlong contest was the first of two group I races that anchored the seven-race “Super Saturday” card, featuring races that are principal stepping stones to the $27 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) program March 31.

Mahmood al Zarooni trains Capponi, a 5-year-old horse by Medicean, who had notched two earlier victories at the Carnival this season. Al Zarooni also sent out Monterosso, who was making his first start since finishing third in the 2011 Dubai World Cup.

At the start it was longshot Treble Jig who went to the front and set the pace. Capponi sat just off him in second under Ahmed Ajtebi, with Prince Bishop and Monterosso close behind them in third and fourth, respectively. Bold Silvano ran in mid-pack early on, with Kieren Fallon content to let Mendip race toward the rear of the field through the early stages.

Racing down the backstretch it was still Treble Jig in the lead, with Capponi just off his flank in second. The pair had opened up by about four lengths over Silver Pond who had moved into third, with Prince Bishop and Monterosso just behind him.

Capponi made his move on the final turn, gliding past Treble Jig and hitting the front at the top of the stretch. The race was all but over by that point as Capponi drew off under Ajtebi through the stretch to win by four lengths.

Silver Pond finished second by a half-length over Prince Bishop, with Monterosso running on at one pace to finish fourth. Mendip, who had been a decisive winner of Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-II), was never a factor and finished 11th.

Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:03.05 over the Tapeta main track.

Capponi was bred in Ireland by Darley, and races in the dark green colors of Sheikh Mohammed’s son, Sheikh Hamdan. The chestnut horse is out of the winning Zilzal mare, Nawaiet, and is a half brother to the multiple stakes winner No Excuse Needed.