Muarrab cashed in his biggest career prize when he delivered a knockout blow to down the international favourite X Y Jet in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, the US$2 million Group-1 race on dirt.
The seven-year-old gelding by Oasis Dream had been successful twice in six starts over the course and distance prior to running the race of his life at the Dubai World Cup meeting last night.
His victory completed a double for the Emirati trainer Musabah Al Muhairi and in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid after AF Mathmoon won the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the Arabian showpiece and traditional opener of the meeting.
“To win one was a real joy and to have two was double joy,” said Al Muahiri. “I wasn’t surprised of the results, both on the strength of their victories in the last starts.”
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Paul Hanagan, who rode him in 17 of his 22 starts prior to the victory in the Golden Shaheen, had him well-placed behind X Y Jet before moving up on his outside with a challenge.
“It’s great for Sheikh Hamdan to have two winners. He’s such a star, this horse,” Hanagan said. “They went hard and it suited him to sit. The other horse was very hard to pass. It’s fantastic.”
They traveled neck-to-neck in the final 400m before Hanagan had his mount in front in the last few strides to win by a neck and deny X Y Jet from extending his winning streak to six.
“Those last 200m felt like a long way, to be honest,” said Hanagan. “Every time I kind of got his head in front, the second horse kept battling back with me.
“When it’s like that, it’s too close for comfort. But I knew my horse is so genuine and tough that he would give his all for me, which he did.
“He’s such a star, this horse. They went hard and it suited him to sit. The other horse was very hard to pass. It’s fantastic.”
X Y Jet’s rider Emisael Jaramillo conceded his horse got beat “fair and square” even though he ran his heart out.
“There was no let up from the word go and there was no chance to get a breather into him. He still managed to run like a champion,” he said.
“He was very tough to pass and it was only close to the wire that the winner got past. Although he was second he was still a champion to me.”
Morawij trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam ran a blinder to take third.
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