DUBAI // Bay Willow made almost all the running to win the featured 2,800m handicap at Meydan Racecourse last night and will now be aimed at the staying races at the Dubai World Cup Carnival which begins next Thursday.
With only seven runners and no obvious pace in the race, Richard Mullen, the stable jockey to the horse’s trainer Satish Seemar, took the bull by the horns soon after the start and was allowed to dictate a steady pace before breaking clear turning for home.
At that point, the hot favourite Averroes, who won the same race last year, looked a big danger but he failed to pick up and it was left to Royaaty to chase home the winner – as he had done behind Averroes last year.
Mullen, who is riding in Saudi Arabia today, said: “It was not particularly the plan to lead but nobody else was going to go on so we took a chance – luckily it worked!
“I was always confident he would stay well and he has a turn of gear so it proved ideal.”
Seemar said: “That was Richard at his best and we will go to the Carnival with him now and look at the staying race on turf.”
Averroes was reported to have bled after the race.
Royaaty’s trainer Mubarak bin Shafya may have been denied in the feature but he combined with stable jockey Adrie De Vries to win the last two handicaps on the card.
Both Busker (1,600m handicap) and Blue Tiger’s Eye (1,400m handicap) looked in trouble halfway up the straight but De Vries was able to find numerous gaps on Busker to take the lead close home, before producing Blue Tiger’s Eye with a withering straight run during in which he passed all 15 of his rivals to land the spoils in the final race on the card.
A delighted De Vries said: “Busker really enjoyed that hurly-burly early in the straight and picked up well when the gaps opened. He is just tough and genuine. I rode Blue Tiger’s Eye on dirt at Sharjah the other day and he produced nothing. He was a different horse today with a visor on and he may have more to offer.”
A previous 1,400m handicap was won by Dan Chillingworth, trained by Doug Watson and produced by Ted Durcan to lead right on the line and deny Al Razi in the final strides in a thrilling finish.
Durcan said: “They went nice and quick which has really helped us and he ran on well. I thought we had just got up and so it proved luckily.”
Forevertheoptimist won the 1,200m handicap for the trainer Fawzi Nass and jockey Kieren Fallon who combined last year to win the Group 1 Golden Shaheen over the same course and distance with Krypton Factor.
Fallon said: “I did not want to get there too soon but we did think he was the one they all had to beat.”
Earlier Blue Sea and stable jockey Royston Ffrench landed the opening 1,600m maiden for the champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.