Gloria de Campeao sprung a 16-1 upset and odds-on favorite Midshipman finished fourth in the $200,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (UAE-III), the featured event on opening day at the brand new Meydan Racecourse Jan. 28 in Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed was in attendance as his brilliant $2 billion racing facility opened with great anticipation. The complex includes two race tracks, a grandstand that holds 60,000 fans, a 290-room-with-a-view luxury hotel, a marina, and a racing museum. The Jan. 28 event was the first of eight Dubai International Racing Carnival programs at Meydan.
The Al Maktoum Challenge, which was run at about one mile over the Tapeta racing surface, saw 3-5 favorite Midshipman—winner of the 2008 Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), break sharply from post 14 and lead for most of the way under Frankie Dettori. The 4-year-old son of Unbridled's Song carried his advantage into mid-stretch, but showed signs of tiring as Gloria de Campeao gained ground on the inside and Forgotten Voice closed rapidly from the outside.
With Tiago Pereira aboard, Gloria de Campeao gained the lead with a couple hundred yards remaining and held off Forgotten Voice to win by about a length. Consul General finished third.
Owned by Stefan Friborg and trained by Pascal Bary, Gloria de Campeao scored his biggest win last season in the $3 million Singapore Airlines International Cup (Sin-I). He was also a distant runner-up to Well Armed in the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in 2009, a race run at Nad Al Sheba, which has since been razed to make room for Meydan. He was second in the Al Maktoum Challenge in 2008.
Bred in Brazil by Haras Santarem, Gloria de Campeao is by Impression, out of the Clackson mare Audacity. In his only start in the U.S, the now 7-year-old horse finished seventh to Gio Ponti in the 2009 Arlington Million (gr. IT) last August.
Meydan will host the Dubai World Cup on March 27, the world’s richest race having increased its purse to a record $10 million this year.