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Double Gold For Vazirabad

History repeated itself times over in the Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors as Vazirabad (FR) became the first dual winner of the race, which joined the Dubai World Cup programme in 2012.

As last year Vazirabad, representing owner the Aga Khan, trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and jockey Christophe Soumillon, mowed down the leaders with a stunning turn of foot in the straight that took him to the front in the shadow of the winning post and won by the same distance, a neck.

The big difference was that instead of Big Orange (GB) – a gallant, two-length fourth here after cutting out much of the running - Vazirabad had to collar the very game Godophin-owned filly Beautiful Romance (GB), on whom Oisin Murphy had made what for some strides looked like a winning move 350m from the finish.

Beautiful Romance beat Vazirabad into second place by a length and a half in last month’s Nad Al Sheba Trophy, but the French-trained five-year-old, who won last year without a preparation race, clearly benefited from the outing.

The Aga Khan’s racing manager Georges Rimaud said: “We brought him here earlier this year to get used to the climate and he has done well in training. I was a little concerned when Christophe went inside in the straight but he knows his way round the track and has confidence in the horse.”

Royer-Dupre was taking his tally at the Dubai World Cup fixture to three, after also winning the 2015 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic for Vazirabad’s owner with Dolniya. He said the Goodwood Cup, newly promoted to Group 1, would be the gelding’s summer target, but he did not rule out the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, provided the ground was not firm.
Beautiful Romance so narrowly failed to put trainer Saeed bin Suroor back on the Dubai Gold Cup winner’s log, after his last win with Cavalryman in 2013.

Among those admiring Vazirabad from a rails position in the winner’s enclosure was her owner Sheikh Mohammed, whose racing manager John Ferguson said: “She’s a very genuine filly and has run the race of her life. She’s proved herself a top stayer, and we look forward to her competing in the big events around the world.”

Sheikhzayedroad (GB), making his fourth consecutive appearance on the card, covered himself in glory, travelling in the first three throughout and staying on to be beaten a length and a half into third place.

Trainer David Simcock said: “He’s done us proud. He’s shown that as he’s got older he needs at least two miles (3200m) and probably even farther, so there’s a certain race at Royal Ascot that we have in mind.”