Mendip made a strong late rally to win the $250,000 Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse Feb. 9. The Al Maktoum Challenge was one of three stakes races that highlighted the eighth night of racing in the 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival.
The 5-year-old son of Harlan's Holiday gave trainer Saeed bin Suroor his fourth victory and second stakes winner of the evening. Bin Suroor also trained Sandagiyr, winner of the Firebreak Stakes.
Mendip was rated toward the rear of the field by jockey Kieren Fallon as Hunting Tower set the pace. Prix Eugene Adam (Fr-II) winner Pisco Sour raced in second, with favorite Master of Hounds running in mid-pack under Christophe Soumillon.
Hunting Tower continued to lead as the field entered the far turn, opening up by as much as three lengths under Kevin Shea.
Turning for home, Prince Bishop drove up the inside rail to take a slight lead as Hunting Tower began to fade. Haatheq moved into second as Master of Hounds charged between horses to take third. Mendip was under a full head of steam and rallying powerfully on the outside under Fallon, and the pair quickly drew alongside the leaders with a furlong to run.
Mendip and Haatheq battled each other throughout the final furlong, with Mendip finally gaining the advantage and edging clear in the final yards to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Master of Hounds had to settle for third, another length back.
The final time for the 9 1/2 furlongs was 1:56.42 over the Tapeta surface.
Mendip was bred in Kentucky by Jayeff B Stables and races for Sheikh Mohammed’s son, Sheikh Hamdan. The dark bay or brown horse is out Well Spring, by Coronado’s Quest.
Sandagiyr Springs Surprise in Firebreak
Godolphin’s Sandagiyr pulled off a huge upset when he won the $200,000 Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III) by a neck over Tamaathul. The victory provided Godolphin with its fourth winner on the card, and gave trainer Saeed bin Suroor the first of his two stakes wins on the night.
Dismissed at odds of 29-1, Sandagiyr, a 4-year-old colt by Dr Fong, was rated in midfield early by Silvestre de Sousa as Barbeque Eddie set the pace. Derbaas tracked Barbeque Eddie from second while heavily favored Bold Silvano was settled into mid-pack by Christophe Soumillon.
Barbeque Eddie continued to lead as the field entered the far turn, opening up a slight advantage when the horses hit the top of the stretch. Soumillon was already hard at work aboard Bold Silvano and was getting little response, as the 2011 Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 winner continued to run on at one pace.
In the meantime, de Sousa had Sandagiyr under an all-out drive on the far outside, and the duo charged past Barbeque Eddie with less than a furlong to go to take the lead. Tamaathul, a 34-1 shot ridden by Ahmad Ajtebi, came up to challenge the leader late, but Sandagiyr had plenty left to hold on for the victory.
African Story made up ground in deep stretch but had to settle for third, just a short head behind Tamaathul. Bold Silvano finished fifth.
The final time for the eight furlongs was 1:36.29 over the Tapeta.
Sandagiyr was bred in France, and initially raced for his breeder, H.H. the Aga Khan. Unraced at 2, Sandagiyr won two of his six starts as a 3-year-old, which included a victory in the listed Prix De Pontarme. He was consigned to the 2011 Arqana October Arc sale, where he sold for 140,000 Euros to Anthony Stroud.
Sandagiyr is out of the Darshaan mare, Sanariya, and is a half-brother to the multiple group I-winning filly, Sarafina.
Kinglet Edges Mickdaam in UAE 2000 Guineas
In the first of the three stakes races on the card, favored Kinglet got up in the final strides to win the $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-III) by a quarter-length over Mickdaam.
The 3-year-old son of Kingmambo entered the race off of a strong runner-up finish to Dark Matter in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Jan. 12. Prior to that, the Godolphin colorbearer scored a victory going eight furlongs over the all-weather course at Kempton Park last October.
Ridden confidently by Mickael Barzalona, Kinglet was held up toward the rear of the nine horse field early, as Dark Matter and Sand Stamp went to the front at the start. Those two led the way for much of the race, with Sand Stamp holding a slight half-length advantage as the field raced into the far turn.
With just a over a furlong to go, Dark Matter stubbornly clung to a slight lead but Kinglet, under a rousing drive by Barzalona, swept past his foe and took command. Mickdaam made a late move in between horses to challenge, but Kinglet held on to win by a neck.
Longshot Mehdi got up for third, finishing three-quarters of a length behind Mickdaam. The final time for the mile was 1:37.72 over the Tapeta main track.
Mahmood al Zarooni trains the bay colt, who was bred in Kentucky by Darley. Kinglet is out of Karen's Caper, a graded stakes-winning daughter of War Chant.