Filly Khawlah Takes Thrilling UAE Derby
Photo: Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Khawlah (#11) outfinishes Master of Hounds to win the UAE Derby.

Khawlah outfought a determined Master of Hounds to capture the $2 million UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-II) at Meydan Racecourse March 26. The daughter of Cape Cross nipped Master Of Hounds by a nose at the wire, becoming the first filly to win the event.

The 3-year-old daughter of Cape Cross is owned by Godolphin and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who also sent out Skysurfers, the victor in the Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Etisalat (UAE-II). She won the UAE Oaks (UAE-III) in her previous start.

As the field of 14 entered the long home stretch, Master of Hounds overtook longtime leader Xin Xu Lin and opened up a slight lead under Ryan Moore. Khawlah was storming down the center of the course under Mickael Barzalona and the filly quickly drew alongside the Coolmore colorbearer. The pair matched strides and battled down to the wire, where it took a photo to determine that Khawlah had won by a nose.

Mahbooba got up for third, 3 1/2 lengths further back. The final time for the 1 3/16 miles was 1:58.83 over the all-weather Tapeta.

“It didn't go at all like I'd hoped because she couldn't get any cover, but she got me out of trouble," Barzalona said. "She was very brave and finished really well. It's a dream to win here.”

Trainer Aidan O'Brien, who had runners in Dubai for the first time in six years, was pleased with Master of Hounds performance, saying, "It was a great run. It was his first run of the year, and Ryan gave him a great ride, but he felt he got tired, as he was entitled to do. He's a big, strong colt, and will do better through the season."

Bred in Ireland by Darley, Khawlah is the first foal out of the winning Selkirk mare, Villarrica, and hails from the immediate family of champions Urban Sea, Galileo, and Sea The Stars.

Sweet Ducky finished 13th.

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