Dubai World Cup 2016: Winners and losers from Super Saturday at Meydan

Ahed of the Dubai World Cup, who helped or hurt their cases the most after this past weekend's Super Saturday at Meydan?
Special Fighter, ridden by Fernando Jara, won the 2000m at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday, March 5. (Pawan Singh/The National)
Special Fighter, ridden by Fernando Jara, won the 2000m at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday, March 5. (Pawan Singh/The National)

Ahead of the Dubai World Cup, which takes place at Meydan on Saturday, March 26, Geoffrey Riddle looks at who benefited the most and who hurt their cases most from this past weekend’s Super Saturday.

Winners

Fernando Jara

Special Fighter had won from the front when trained by Mark Johnston in England but in six runs at Meydan he had never set the pace. The Panamanian jockey, however, changed that and kicked his mount in to an early lead from his middle draw in the Al Maktoum Challenge. He led at a moderate pace, and when he knew there was enough in the tank 400 metres out he unleashed Special Fighter to claim a first Group 1 win for trainer Musabah Al Muhairi.

All night dirt winners had led from the front and while connections of other horses bemoaned how the track was riding, Jara certainly let his performance do the talking.

Doug Watson

Watson has had little success on World Cup night in the past, but he has gilt-edged opportunities in three weeks in both the Godolphin Mile and the UAE Derby.

Cool Cowboy showed his rivals a clean pair of heels in the Burj Nahaar, a race that African Story and Tamarkuz used as a springboard to World Cup night success. Stable companion One Man Band, who also likes to lead, will provide jockey Pat Dobbs with a difficult decision in the lead-up to March 26.

With Market Rally being gifted a substandard Al Bastikiya, the chances of Watson’s Polar River in the UAE Derby, and those of Mike De Kock’s Vale Dori, look much better.

Musabah Al Muhairi

The master of Oasis Stables played a blinder. He took Super Saturday at face value – a warm up for World Cup night, and trained his troops to the minute for it in the knowledge that the big guns had one eye on other targets.

Seven year old Muarrab signaled to all how quickly the dirt was riding with his win from the front, where he likes to be, in the Mahaab Al Shimaal. Eight year old Fityaan produced a huge upset in the Meydan Sprint from his advantageous draw in gate 11, which then provided the platform for Special Fighter. None of the trio has much hope of victory on World Cup night, but with three Group races in the bag and total winning prize-money of $US465,000 Al Muhairi is unlikely to lose sleep on it.

Losers

Keen Ice

Fans of Keen Ice are forever trumpeting how he beat Triple Crown winner American Pharoah at Saratoga last season but the American raider has an awful lot to prove now after his lacklustre run in the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Dale Romans had the same mystified look on his face afterwards that he did when Little Mike and Dullahan performed poorly at Super Saturday in 2013.

Keen Ice broke awkwardly, which resulted in Ryan Moore having to race three wide. The jockey reported the four year old was not suited to racing more prominently and hated the steady early pace. Keen Ice might have to be more versatile in the World Cup.

Christophe Soumillon

The Belgian jockey suffered a frustrating day at the office with all four of his mounts experiencing defeat. To compound matters he was banned for three meetings, and fined AED5,000, for weighing out on Lazzam in the Al Bastikya with a non-approved safety vest – not the first time he has fallen foul of ERA rule 62 (ix). With Dariyan easily bested by Postponed in the Dubai City Of Gold, Mubtaahij, who was fourth in the Al Maktoum Challenge, looks his best opportunity of a win on World Cup night.

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Published: March 6, 2016 04:00 AM

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