Divine Image provided Godolphin their 11th UAE Oaks win at the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday.
Week 8 of the carnival was made even more memorable by the fact it was the first time jockey William Buick and trainer Charlie Appleby had won the race.
Godolphin claimed the other two feature prizes on offer at Meydan Racecourse – the Group 2 Zabeel Mile and the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes – thanks to Mythical Magic under Buick and Spotify with James Doyle atop. Both horses are trained by Appleby.
There was more success on the night for the royal blues as Saeed bin Suroor’s Major Partnership rounded off the six-race card by claiming the concluding handicap under Kevin Stott.
Divine Image’s success was most dramatic.
The Scat Daddy filly was sweating profusely going into the starting point – fractious and hard to load – but she broke well to race behind the four front-runners. She was still behind the leaders as they turned for home when more drama unfolded.
Buick lost his whip when he most needed – 200 metres from the finishing line. Nevertheless, he kept pushing Divine Image with hands and heels, and she responded brilliantly to collar the long-time leader Swift Rose, another Godolphin runner, to win by a neck.
“It’s only her third start and she’s not done anything silly up to now,” Buick said in tribute to Divine Image. “We think she’s a filly with a lot of energy, and we have to just go along her rather than against her. Although she’s not the finished article just yet, I think it was a big step.
“It was a very pleasing performance, and she’s a very game and honest filly. All in all, it’s an incredibly pleasing performance.”
Divine Image finished runner-up in the UAE 1000 Guineas after missing the break, and Buick said they would consider the UAE Derby on the Dubai World Cup Night over the same 1,900m trip.
“I’m sure it will be taken into consideration with both the owner and the trainer,” Buick said.
Doyle on Spotify led the first five home for the Godolphin in the third race, while Buick completed the treble for Appleby atop Mythical Image in the penultimate race.
“It great ride by James on the front end,” Appleby said referring to Doyle's efforts aboard Spotify. “He got him into a nice rhythm. The horse digs deep when they come to him. Full credit to him."
It was Spotify’s second win in two starts at Meydan and his handler will return him to his European campaign.
“As always, we’ll get them back and see how they are and regroup,” Appleby said.