Al Shemali streaks to a surprise win in the Dubai Duty Free.

Al Shemali streaks to a surprise win in the Dubai Duty Free.

Andrew Watkins

Al Shemali Pulls Duty Free Shocker

The 6-year-old horse had just three wins in 17 starts entering the race

Longshot Al Shemali took over from a trio of American horses in upper stretch and pulled away to win the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) by 1 1/2 lengths March 27 at Meydan Racecourse. The English-bred 6-year-old horse is owned by Sheikh Hamdan and was ridden to victory by Royston Ffrench.

Starlight Partners’ Take the Points, who had the lead turning for home in the about 1 1/8-mile turf race, settled for fifth under Edgar Prado, a quarter-length back of Don Van Racing’s The Usual Q. T., who was also up close for much of the contest with Victor Espinoza aboard. Pam and Martin Wygod’s Courageous Cat  faded to ninth in a field of 16 after being near the pace under Garrett Gomez. Favored Presvis was 11th.
Trained by Ali al Raihe, Al Shemali was a winner in the Visa Infinite Handicap on the Meydan Tapeta surface in February, but that was the first score in his last eight starts. He entered the race off a sixth-place finish in the Maktoum Challenge-Round 3 (UAE-II) on March 4 and had won just three of 17 starts in his career.
The son of Medicean paid a whopping $292.20 to win.
Irish-bred Bankable finished second, followed by Imbongi.
Al Shemali was bred by Minister Stud and is out of the Generous mare Bathilde.