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United Color Puts Selvaratnam In The Pink With Dubawi Stakes Win

United Color
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Jebel Ali Trainer Lands Dubai World

Cup Carnival Sprint Feature

Dhruba Selvaratnam’s progressive United Color was the local hero under James Doyle at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday, claiming the Listed Dubawi Stakes ahead of proven Group 1 performers.

United Color, a course and distance winner at Meydan Racecourse last season, was fifth in the 2013 Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen behind Thursday night’s runner, Reynaldothewizard. The five-year-old Jebel Ali Stables inmate clearly benefitted from his race fitness thanks to his Jebel Ali comeback in December.

Sporting the famous yellow silks of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Doyle rushed his mount up to track early leader Farmleigh House before the pair hit the front halfway up the straight.

They clung on grimly from a hard-charging Russian Soul, who was having his first all-weather outing in the UAE.

Doyle explained: “We were drawn wide and nobody really wanted to go on so decided to get in a handy position, knowing we had race fitness and good course form.

“He was going so strongly I was happy to let him track the early leader before we quickened well. I always thought I was holding on and well done to Dhruba and the whole team.”

It was another good night for Godolphin, with Mickael Barzalona at his confident best on Wedding Ring, winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial over 1400m on the all-weather, advertising her claims for the first fillies’ Classic. Settled well off the pace by the Frenchman, the filly made smooth progress at the top of the straight and the pair ran on strongly to lead close home.

The Guineas itself is over 1600m but Barzalona seemed confident that would not be a problem. “She is a good filly with a good turn of foot. She was not stopping at the end of that 1400m and should get 1600m around Meydan.”

The opening 2200m handicap was won most impressively by stable companion, Cat O’Mountain.

Unbeaten in four all-weather starts in the UK, as well as in two outings over 2200m, Barzalona’s mount shot clear about 400m out and cruised over the line, winning with minimum effort.

Barzalona said: “That was easy and he quickened very nicely when I asked him. He could drop back in trip or would stay further so we will have to see where he goes next but I was impressed.”

Jockey and trainer were denied a rapid treble when their Safety Check just failed to catch Emirates Flyer in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial, also over 1400m on the all-weather. He too is owned by Godolphin and was ridden by Silvestre De Sousa for Saeed bin Suroor.

De Sousa settled his mount in behind the early speed before asking him to win his race about 200m out and the pair opened up a decisive advantage before Safety Check finished fast to grab second.

De Sousa said: “The Guineas is the obvious race for him and the winner of this trial has a great record in that race.”

The turf was used once, in a 2000m handicap dominated by UK challengers, with Sheikhzayedroad, named after the famous Dubai road just ten minutes’ drive away, holding on from Aussie Reigns.

Martin Lane rode the winner for David Simcock and the jockey said: “This horse has been a real star for me in recent times and a big thank you to the owner and trainer. It was a big win, in a fast time, over a trip on the short side.

“He was obviously named in the hope he might end up here and he has delivered on the international stage.”

Ali Rashid Al Raihe and stable jockey, Royston Ffrench, landed the last, a 1600m handicap, with Zain Shamardal, owned by The Royal Cavalry Of Oman. The tough campaigner was backing up after a victory in a Conditions race over a mile in the Omani capital of Muscat two weeks ago.

Ffrench said: “This horse stays further so I was keen to go for home early in the straight and he hung on grimly – but only just!”