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Twice Over proves up to Challenge

Emirates Airline sponsored Super Thursday, the eight race dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup meeting on Saturday 26th March was highlighted by the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge Round III, a race held over the same 2000m All-Weather course and same distance as the Dubai World Cup, the world`s richest horse race.

Twice Over won the event and became the first UAE winner for trainer Henry Cecil and jockey Tom Queally who said: "This is a quality horse, we know that and hopefully there is plenty of improvement to come as he will have needed the run. He struggled in last year`s World Cup but we have come out earlier this year and the plan has worked so far."

Trainer Michael Bell then saddled his first winner in the UAE with his first runner when Wigmore Hall landed the concluding Group Two Jebel Hatta over the same 1800m Turf course as the Group One Dubai Duty Free.

He and Jamie Spencer prevailed in a three way photo to the delight of Bell who said: "We thought he would need that run so we have to be delighted. The Duty Free is his first target before he goes to Hong Kong and Singapore."

Mahmoud Al Zarooni trained Monterosso who won the Group Two Dubai City of Gold, the prep for the 2400m Group One Dubai Sheema Classic on the Turf, in his UAE debut.

A winner at Royal Ascot last year when also fourth in the Irish Derby, he was ridden by Mickael Barzalona and Al Zarooni said: "The [Dubai] Sheema Classic is next certainly and that was a very good effort by horse and jockey."

Nieshan led home a 1-2 in the Group One Purebred Arabian Maktoum Challenge to the delight of his trainer Eric Lemartinel who saw stable companion Albar Lotois chase him home.

Lemartinel won a Dubai Kahayla Classic with Mizzna in 2008 and the winner will certainly be seen in that Dubai World Cup night curtain raiser. Lemartinel said: "I was very hopeful going into the race with Nieshan but did not expect that! It is a great result for the yard and we will be back World Cup night."

Mike De Kock`s filly Reem advertised her UAE Derby claim in no uncertain terms when running out the easy winner of the Listed Al Bastakiya over 1900m on All-Weather, the same course and distance as the final Classic of the season, and a race a filly has yet to win.

The trainer said: "The fillies certainly seem better than the colts this year and Reem and Mahbooba will both go the Derby now with live chances."

Ryan Moore was at his confident best on Bankable for South African trainer Herman Brown in the Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal over 1200m on the All-Weather.

Moore urged his mount to the lead close to home having been last turning into the straight and Brown said: "That was a great ride from Ryan and this is a really good horse but he is fragile and keeping him sound has never been easy. We have plenty of options on the big night the [Dubai] World Cup perhaps or [Dubai] Duty Free. We will have to wait and see."

Mendip followed up his opening night win in the Group Three Maktoum Challenge Round I when winning the Group Three Burj Nahaar over the same 1600m All-Weather course and distance, just prevailing in the dying strides to deny the highly progressive Zafeen Speed in a thrilling finish.

Bin Suroor said: "He has had to show a lot of courage there and it is very satisfying. We decided against the Maktoum Challenge over the extra two furlongs and it has paid off. The Godolphin Mile is a possibility but we would not rule out the World Cup at this stage."

The 1000m Emirates Airline Trophy on turf was won by Happy Dubai with stable jockey Royston Ffrench in the saddle for Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.