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River Jetez waltzes to Balanchine triumph

Emirates NBD were the sponsors of Friday`s seventh meeting of the 2011 Dubai International Racing Carnival and the featured Group Two Balanchine Stakes and concluding 2000m conditions race on the All-Weather were dominated by Mike De Kock and Christophe Soumillon.

First up was River Jetez in the featured 1800m Balanchine Stakes, a Group Two Turf contest restricted to fillies and mares. Soumillon was able to settle his mount in rear before producing her with a sweeping late challenge to deny stable companion Reem in the final 200m to the delight of De Kock who said: "We were very hopeful of a big run but another 1-2 is a great result. I am not sure where we will go with River Jetez as she has plenty of options."

Soumillon used similar tactics in the final race, Personal Banking, and decidedly won on Golden Sword who broke the track record over the course and distance of the world`s richest race, the US$10million Dubai World Cup.
The trainer added: "The [Dubai] World Cup is obviously a consideration and this horse has been a revelation this year. It is a very pleasing conclusion to the night."

Racing opened with the Group Two Bani Yas, the only Purebred Arabian race on the card. A 1400m All-Weather contest, it was won well by Dariya, ridden by Ted Durcan for Saifaldin Deeb. Short of room turning for home, Durcan waited for a gap and his mount powered home to deny Kandar Du Falgas.

Durcan said: "He is a nice horse with plenty of ability. I won on him over 1000m last time and he is pretty versatile and will stay further"

Doug Watson then opened his account for the 2011 Dubai International Racing Carnival with Famous Warrior in the 1600m Private Banking, and then doubled his tally with War Monger in the following 1800m Priority Banking, the final leg of the Meydan Masters` International Jockeys` Challenge.

Both winners made virtually all with Tadhg O`Shea on Famous Warrior who is a half-brother to last year`s stable star and Godolphin Mile runner-up Green Coast.

However, it was Olivier Peslier who was able to get War Monger to the front after about 300m and he never saw another rival. In doing so, the jockey propelled himself from last to second in the challenge – a place behind Calvin Borel who finished with 86 points to Peslier`s 81.

Watson said: "That was a great hour and two great rides. Famous Warrior has taken a while to settle in and we have schooled him in the paddock and stalls. He is a nice young horse and hopefully can improve like Green Coast did."

Peslier said: "The jockeys` challenge is a great initiative and it is nice to win a race – seeing as I was last before this one. Doug was very bullish before the race and I can see why because he won that well."

The trainer then completed a treble with Barbecue Eddie in the 1400m Business Banking with Richard Hills in the saddle.

Top-weight War Artist landed the 1200m Corporate Banking to follow up his win in last year`s Al Shindagha Sprint over the same trip but on the All-Weather. Now trained by Robert Collet he was again partnered by Olivier Peslier who said: "On his day he is a very good sprinter as he has shown on many occasions. It all went right today with a good fast gallop suiting him."

The 2504m Asset Management provided Johnny Murtagh with his first Meydan winner and he produced the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Calvados Blues to deny Mikhail Glinka close home. They were last entering the straight and Al Zarooni said: "That was a very good ride from a top-class jockey. The horses are in good form."

2011 Meydan Masters International Jockey’s Challenge tally:

JOCKEY Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Total
Calvin Borel 75 10 1 86
William Buick 5 4 4 13
Frankie Dettori 15 8 15 38
Maxime Guyon 8 7 8 23
Richard Hills 6 6 20 32
Richard Hughes 20 2 5 27
Ryan Moore 1 75 3 79
Gerald Mosse 2 20 2 24
John Murtagh 7 5 10 22
Tiago Perreira 10 1 7 18
Olivier Peslier 3 3 75 81
Hiroyuki Uchida 4 15 6 25