Hitchens outlasted a stubborn Krypton Factor to claim a short head victory in the $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-III) at Meydan Racecourse Feb. 3. The Al Shindagha, along with the listed UAE One Thousand Guineas, was the highlight of the seventh night of racing in the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Jockey Silvestre de Sousa settled Hitchens, a 7-year-old gelding by Acclamation, just off the leaders early as Krypton Factor and Captain Obvious shot to the front to set the pace. Those two were quickly joined by Mujaazef, and the three runners battled each other through a swift early portion.
As the field hit the top of the stretch, Krypton Factor and Captain Obvious battled on as Mujaazef began to fade. Hitchens, under a strong drive by De Sousa, drew alongside the leading pair with just over a furlong to go.
Hitchens edged clear and it briefly appeared that he was on his way to victory. Krypton Factor wasn’t through, however, as he rallied back along the rail under Kieren Fallon. The duo ran in tandem through the final yards to the wire, with Hitchens finally scraping out a hard-fought win.
Alo Pura closed late to take third, finishing 1 3/4 lengths behind Krypton Factor. Final time for the six furlongs was 1:11.22 over the Tapeta main track.
It was the third career stakes win for the David Barron trainee, who has also won the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes (Ire-III) and the listed Golden Rose Stakes. Hitchens has also shown good form at the highest level, having finished third to Dream Ahead in the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) last year.
Hitchens is owned by Laurence O’Kane and Paul Murphy. Bred in Ireland by the Curragh Bloodstock Agency, Hitchens is out of the Royal Academy mare, Royal Fizz. His second dam, Crown Crest, is a full sister to champions Glint of Gold and Diamond Shoal.
Gamilati Impresses Again in UAE 1000 Guineas
Earlier on the card, Gamilati turned in yet another scintillating performance when she cruised to an easy 5 1/2-length victory in the listed $250,000 UAE One Thousand Guineas Sponsored by Gulf News.
Ridden confidently by Frankie Dettori, the daughter of Bernardini swept from last to first within the final two furlongs to score easily. Stablemate Pimpernel got up for second, with Alsindi another 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third.
Final time for the eight furlongs on the all-weather surface was 1:38.84.
Gamilati was bred in England by Darley, and is trained by Mahmood al Zarooni for Godolphin.
After the race Sheikh Mohammed told reporters, “After that win, all options are now open with Gamilati. The Newmarket Guineas was mentioned, but we will have to think about the UAE Oaks now and perhaps then Royal Ascot.”
Gamilati, who captured the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes (Eng-II) as a 2-year-old, improved her record to three wins from six lifetime starts, and has earnings of $238,723. The bay filly is out of Illustrious Miss, a stakes-winning daughter of Kingmambo.