Hypothetical geared up for another go at the Dubai World Cup after winning the Group Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 at the Super Saturday meeting at Meydan.
The Salem bin Ghadayer-trained five-year-old son of Lope de Vega in the silks of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed made all under Mickael Barzalona to win the 2,000-metre race from Remorse by a length with Everfast a further six and-a-half lengths back in third.
Drawn wide in gate 13 in the 14-runner field, Barzalona had Hypothetical quickly out and kept going strongly until the end over the Dubai World Cup track and trip for his biggest career victory.
“I was travelling easy all the way round,” Barzalona said. “He’s a lovely horse, always very good with us. He’s got everything to be good.”
Hypothetical was runner up in the race last year and was a creditable fourth in the Dubai World Cup behind Godolphin’s Mystic Guide.
“Last year what he did in his first season on the dirt which is never easy,” Barzalona added.
“He showed he had some potential. Now we know he is very good from nine to ten (furlongs). It’s always good to win a Group 1 race, and hopefully, we can go forward and win the big race on World Cup night.”
Hypothetical was unplaced in the opening round of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge over the 1,600m trip on his reappearance but bounced back to claim the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes over the track and trip.
Musabah Al Muhairi’s Alfareeq with Dane O’Neill in the saddle grabbed the Jebel Hatta, the other Group 1 prize for the thoroughbreds that was on offer on the night.
O’Neill produced the Dark Angel gelding with a super late run to stun a quality field to take the 1,800m turf prize from Finest Sound and Ursa Minor by a length and-a-quarter and half a length.
Fernando Jara on Jugurtha De Monlau led the first two home for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed’s Yas Racing and trainer Jean-Claude Pecout in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 for Purebred Arabians.
“He ran the first time this year on dirt, two nice horses beat him on that day,” Jara said.
“Today he definitely was fitter. The last time he ran over 2,200m which I don’t think is his best trip. Nine to ten furlongs is his best.”
3pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 – Group 1 (PA) $75,000 (Dirt) 2,000m
Winner: Jugurtha De Monlau, Fernando Jara (jockey), Jean-Claude Pecout (trainer)
3.35pm: Dubai City Of Gold – Group 2 (TB) $350,000 (Turf) 2,410m
Winner: Hukum, Jim Crowley, Owen Burrows
4.10pm: Burj Nahaar – Group 3 (TB) $250,000 (Dirt) 1,600m
Winner: Desert Wisdom, Adrie de Vries, Ahmed Al Shemaili
4.45pm: Nad Al Sheba Turf – Group 3 (TB) $250,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: Man Of Promise, William Buick, Charlie Appleby
5.20pm: Al Bastakiya – Listed (TB) $170,000 (D) 1,900m
Winner: Quality Boone, Vagner Leal, Cintra Pereira
5.55pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 – Group 1 (TB) $450,000 (D) 2,000m
Winner: Hypothetical, Mickael Barzalona, Salem bin Ghadayer
6.55pm: Ras Al Khor – Conditions (TB) $300,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Storm Damage, Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor
7.30pm: Jebel Hatta – Group 1 (TB) $350,000 (T) 1,800m
Winner: Alfareeq, Dane O’Neill, Musabah Al Muhairi
8.05pm: Mahab Al Shimaal – Group 3 (TB) $250,000 (D) 1,200m
Winner: Eastern World, Ray Dawson, Ahmad bin Harmash