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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 9 March 2021

Salute The Soldier proves credentials for Dubai World Cup challenge

Sepoy gelding storms to victory in Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan

Adrie de Vries on board Salute The Soldier won the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2 at the Dubai World Cup Carnival Week-4 at Meydan on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Courtesy Dubai Racing Club
Adrie de Vries on board Salute The Soldier won the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2 at the Dubai World Cup Carnival Week-4 at Meydan on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Courtesy Dubai Racing Club

Salute The Soldier may have earned a shot at the Dubai World Cup after coming home an impressive winner in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge in Week-4 of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan on Thursday.

The six-year-old Sepoy gelding, racing for the first time over the mile distance, hit the front at the 400m mark to win from Thegreatcollection and the Uruguayan raider Ajuste Fiscal by a length and three-quarter length, respectively.

“This opens new doors for us,” winning jockey Adrie de Vries said. “It was a good try, a brave try by Fawzi [Nass – the Bahraini trainer].

“Things didn’t go right from the season for him. First time he ran, he ran too fresh, he was doing too much.

“Maybe, he ran a bit flat last time but it made us make this decision to go a little bit further with him, which was the right one after this win. And hopefully, we can get in, on the big night.

“He likes to keep that bit of freshness in him. These are tough races so we have to see how he comes out of this.”

Salute The Soldier ran twice in the season, finishing fourth in the Listed Dubai Creek and third in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1, both over the mile trip.

“He’s a horse who quickly gets fresh again and he takes his races well but today was a hard race,” De Vries added. “And we really have to see how he gets out of this and make a plan from there.”

Appleby and Buick land treble

Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby and his jockey William Buick racked up a treble on the night, including the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort with Zakouski.

Buick produced a well-timed run on Zakouski to reverse the results of their last meeting with David O’Meara’s Lord Glitters, who could finish only third.

Buick had earlier steered Star Safari to take the turf handicap from Away He Goes by three quarter length and Secret Protector was a convincing winner of the Meydan Trophy from Areen by five and-a-half lengths.

RB Money To Burn overcame a wide draw under the eight-time UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea to land the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah for the Purebred Arabians.

She was bouncing back from a disappointing effort in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 over the trip and track in her last start five week ago.

O’Shea, riding her for the first time, had her quickly out of the widest gate No 11 and settled her alongside the front-running RB Kinetic under Adrie de Vries.

She went clear from the 500m and eased close home to win from Omani raider Spaghetti (Harry Bentley) and RB Torch (Fabrice Veron) by two lengths and two and three-quarter lengths respectively.

“Tonight she showed what she can do,” Eric Lemartinel, her trainer, said of the six-year-old mare by Majd Al Arab.

“The last time, I don’t know, she ran below par. She wasn’t even 50 per cent that day. We did some work on her after that race. Tonight she came back and did her job well.”

Published: February 12, 2021 08:40 AM

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