Adrie de Vries has high hopes from Salute The Soldier at the Dubai World Cup after piloting the Fawzi Nass-trained runner to an impressive victory in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 in the Super Saturday meeting at Meydan.
The six-year-old Sepoy gelding has now won the both the second and third legs of the Al Maktoum Challenge series after finishing third in Round-1.
Salute The Soldier’s victory in the traditional dress rehearsal of the Dubai World Cup on Saturday was his biggest career prize and an authoritative win at the top level.
De Vries had his mount quickly out of gate four and raced along the rails in front all the way over the 2,000-metre trip to win from Hypothetical and Roman Rosso by a length and three quarter and three lengths, respectively.
“I thought the pace would come from the outside today, and I thought something would come across but they didn’t. I was happy to make it myself,” De Vries said.
“He’s fine in front. I didn’t get too much pressure. We have big, big hopes for the big day and I can’t feel any better. He’s a late maturing horse. He’s a lot calmer like you saw him today.”
David O’Meara’s British trained Lord Glitters landed the Jebel Hatta, the first of the two Group 1 prizes that was on offer in the seven-race card.
The eight-year-old gelding under Daniel Tudhope clinched his second carnival prize from Eqtiraan and Godolphin’s Al Suhail by half-a-length and a short head.
Al Suhail, returning to the racetrack for his first run in nearly eight months, looked like he had the race in the bag when William Buick made his challenge but ran out of gas in the final 50 yards.
Godolphin and Doug Watson saddled a double each while Salem bin Ghadayer landed the Listed Al Bastakiya, the traditional prep race for the UAE Derby with Panadol.
Charlie Appleby’s Walton Street, under William Buick, completed back-to-back carnival victories by leading the first three home for Godolphin in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold.
Saeed bin Suroor and Frankie Dettori rounded off the meeting by taking the concluding Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Sprint with Final Song.
Panadol overcame the widest draw in gate 12 to make it two-from-two in the Al Bastakiya.
Mickael Barzalona jumped out quickly to settle the Flatter colt in front and then took the shortest way home to take the Listed prize from Speight'spercomete and El Patriota by three quarter lengths and two and-a-half lengths, respectively.
“We would have loved to take him directly to the Derby but this horse was a bit backward when he arrived,” Bin Ghadayer said.
“We still had this point in our mind that he had only one start before competing in the Derby and another run would give him the experience.
“We didn’t want to change his tactics. The last time he was drawn in the inside and this time wide on the outside. We didn’t have a choice. He had to travel a little bit longer in the distance but he’s of good quality.”