Pearls of Dubai Sale-Topper Upset

Next Knight, who topped last year's Pearls of Dubai International Sale, was upset by a Kentucky-bred son of Mister Baileys in a mile grass race at Nad al Sheba Racecourse Sunday. A Kentucky-bred colt by Royal Academy purchased on behalf of Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed al Maktoum for 2,000,000 UAE dirhams (about $544,736), Next Knight was making his third career start Sunday as a prep for the March 2 Pearls of Dubai International Sales Graduate Stakes for horses that went through the sale.

The Emirates Racing race report said Next Knight appeared to race "very greenly in the closing stages" of Sunday's race, finishing fourth in the five-horse field. Next Knight previously finished second in his career debut at Nad al Sheba before going on to post a four-length triumph in his second start.

Sunday's race was won by Umm Al Qawain Star, who was bred in Kentucky by Roger and Michael Heitzmann. He was purchased by Colonial Partners for $23,000 from the Bluewater Sales consignment to the 2000 Keeneland September yearling sale. Trained by Alan Smith, Umm Al Qawain Star was ridden to victory by Wayne Smith.

Emirates Racing reported that Umm Al Qawain Star, who is not eligible for the Pearls of Dubai sale stake, "was clearly impressive and strongly suggested better class races were within his grasp."

The Smiths also partner to train and ride Fueguino, who defeated Next Knight in his career debut and is now the probable favorite for the Pearls of Dubai International Sales Graduate Stakes on the basis of two wins from as many starts, both at six furlongs.