Military Law storms to victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 on opening night of Dubai World Cup Carnival

Al Muhairi’s six-year-old's impressive victory at Meydan puts him in contention for February's $20m Saudi Cup

Antonio Fresu guides Military Law to a convincing win in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 at Meydan. Courtesy Dubai racing Club
Antonio Fresu guides Military Law to a convincing win in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 at Meydan. Courtesy Dubai racing Club

Military Law lived up to last season’s promise to win the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 in the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan on Thursday.

Runner-up in both the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 and 3 last season, Musabah Al Muhairi’s six-year-old Dubawi gelding came home an impressive winner under Antonio Fresu in his first start for the new season.

His success on the night may have also see a change of plans with the $20 million Saudi Cup on February 20 now a strong option.

“We may have a different option for him after this win,” Fresu said when asked if he was heading to the Al Maktoum Round-2 next.

“Now there is a plan either keep him in Dubai or take him to Saudi. The owners will have a look how he’s come out of this race and then decide where he goes.

“I have been riding him every day since last year. He always gave me a strong feeling. He was running well last season but this year he’s stronger and looking better. We kept him for this race.”

Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori teamed-up to land the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort with Land Of Legends.

Charlie Appleby and William Buick had earlier bagged the first of the two Listed prizes that was on offer to complete a double on the night for Godolphin.

Dettori also completed a double by taking the concluding handicap on British trainer Charles Hills’ Equilateral.

Switzerland in the second silks of the owners RRR Racing pulled off a surprise by winning the Group 3 Dubai Stakes from Waady and stable companion Gladiator King.

Tadhg O’Shea, the winning rider, believes the Satish Seemar-trained seven-year-old American bred Speightstown gelding deserves another crack at the Group 1 Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup night.

“It’s was a nice spare ride because Gladiator King was the stables main hope who Mickael [Barzalona] always ride,” the UAE champion jockey said.

“Richie [Richard Mullen] is married to Bochart, and obviously, that’s what was left for me.”

Barzalona and Antonio Freso atop Waady battled for the lead in front while Bochart had to deal with the widest draw in gate nine.

“I rode this horse in the morning at Meydan and I would be lying if I said he would go on and win the Dubawi,” O’Shea added.

“His work was phenomenal. I pulled up and told [assistant trainer] Bhupath [Singh] and Satish after that gallop it was the fastest three furlong he ran for a very long time. He’s good enough to run in the Golden Shaheen here in the World Cup night.”

David O’Meara’s globetrotting British raider Lord Glitters, under the Scandinavian champion jockey Adrie de Vries, came from last to first to take the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes.

“The start wasn’t planned this way,” De Vries said. “He missed the kick a little bit. The pace was good enough not to panic, and sit where I was.

“He did things really pretty. At the halfway, I was pretty sure he was going to win. He did it in a nice way at the end.”

Updated: January 21, 2021 10:43 PM

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