Super Saturday, the second biggest meeting of the UAE season at Meydan and a dress rehearsal for Dubai World Cup night three weeks later, was officially highlighted by the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 sponsored by Emirates Airline, which was won by Salute the Soldier.
Group 1 $390,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3
Over the same 2000m on dirt as the $12 million Dubai World Cup on Super Saturday, the race was won in determined fashion by Salute The Soldier. The 6-year-old Sepoy gelding was given a polished ride by Adrie de Vries, the pair in front after about 100m and staying there. Victorious on this card last year, when never headed in the 1600m Group 3 Burj Nahaar, he arrived here having landed his previous start, the 1900m Al Maktoum Challenge R2 and has now won four times for current connections having won the same amount when trained in Britain by Clive Cox.
Purchased for 380,000gns at Tattersalls in October 2019, he has proved a shrewd purchase who is equally effective on dirt and turf. Trained by Fawzi Nass for Victorious, he was always travelling well for De Vries who set sail for home at the top of the straight, the pair always seemingly holding the challenge of Hypothetical.
De Vries said: “He stayed the 1900m so well last time we were confident the extra 100m would be fine and so it has proved. I was able to set the fractions to suit myself which was ideal and that was a very good performance. I did not expect to be able to lead really, but was more than happy to do so.
“This is my biggest UAE winner and it is a massive result for myself and the whole team. This horse is a lot more relaxed this year and has really matured. I am now really looking forward to the World Cup in three weeks’ time.”
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Salute the Soldier Wins Al Maktoum Challenge
Group 1 $260,000 Jebel Hatta
The main turf race, the 1800m Group 1 Jebel Hatta sponsored by Emirates Airline produced a dramatic finish with Lord Glitters finishing fast and late to snatch what had appeared an unlikely victory throughout most of the long straight.
Settled in last by Danny Tudhope, the admirable 8-year-old grey Whipper gelding tracked Godolphin’s Al Suhail, but looked in trouble when the latter hit the front with about 200m remaining. However, the Godolphin horse drifted off a straight line, eventually losing second to Eqtiraan with Tudhope’s mount passing them both in the final 50m.
Trained by David O’Meara, thus representing Britain, it was a second course and distance victory at this carnival for Lord Glitters who, when partnered by Adrie de Vries, made a winning start to his campaign in the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes. Then, under Tudhope and carrying a penalty, he was third to Zakouski in the Group 2, Al Rashidiya over the same track and trip, having beaten that Godolphin runner in the Singspiel Stakes.
It was also a second Group One victory for Lord Glitters, victorious over 1600m in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019.
Tudhope said: “He only really picked up in the last 300m and I was worried for a fair way. The race was not run to suit him as he prefers a much faster gallop, but luckily, it all worked out in the end.
“We can look forward to the Dubai Turf now when, hopefully, they will go a good gallop from the outset as opposed to how this race panned out.”
Lord Glitters Wins Jebel Hatta
Group 2 $228,000 Dubai City of Gold
Also on turf, the 2410m Dubai City Of Gold sponsored by Emirates Holidays was dominated by Godolphin whose quartet of runners in a field of just seven filled the first four places. It was Walton Street, confidently ridden by William Buick and the only Charlie Appleby representative, who landed the spoils, easily, from the Saeed bin Suroor trio Dubai Future, Desert Fire and Brilliant Light.
Appleby was landing the prize for a fourth consecutive season, three ridden by Buick, and Godolphin for the fifth year running in a race they have a tremendous record; this was winner number 12 in the contest for the owners. Having settled in third, Buick eased his mount to the front as early leader Communique started to struggle, about 800m from home and the race was over as a contest shortly afterwards, the pair powering home to win stylishly.
A homebred 7-year-old Cape Cross gelding, he equaled his own track record, set 44 days earlier in the Dubai Racing Cup Classic, a Listed handicap.
Buick said: “He really impressed me last time and was very good again today in a slowly run race. He is a horse with a nice stride and one who stays well.
“The handicap he won had worked out very well, so we were very hopeful and you would have to think he can go to the Sheema Classic with a decent chance.”