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L`Amour De Ma Vie Wins the Group 2 Balanchine to Lead a Host of International Wins at Meydan

L`Amour De Ma Vie (USA)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

There was a truly international flavour to Thursday’s seventh meeting of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival with Europe dominating proceedings, highlighted by the victory of L’Amour De Ma Vie in the featured Group 2 Balanchine Stakes.

Trained by Mme Pia Brandt, she had finished second on her local debut, behind Certify in the Group 2 Cape Verdi Stakes three weeks ago but, with that rival disappointing, she opened her UAE account in style.

It was also a first local winner for her jockey, Maxime Guyon, who took her to the head of affairs 400m out with the pair soon opening up what, it transpired, was an unassailable lead.

A delighted Guyon said: “I am so pleased to ride my first Dubai winner in such a big race and she really deserved that win after a brave effort in defeat last time. She quickened well and ran all the way to the line.

“I think she is improving.”

The only winner not representing a trainer from Europe was Tasaday, winner of the inaugural running of the Listed Dubai Millennium Stakes, over 2000m on turf. This went to Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor and his stable jockey, Silvestre De Sousa.

As was the case in several races, the winner was never far off a steady gallop before quickening clear early in the straight. She hung on well to the delight of De Sousa who said: “She is a very nice filly who ran well enough first time, three weeks ago but had certainly improved for the run.

“She has a touch of class and a nice turn of foot – both have proved crucial and it is great to win a race named after a true Godolphin legend.”

Racing opened with a 1400m turf handicap which went to Ireland, courtesy of Eastern Rules, recording a fourth 2014 Dubai World Carnival Cup victory for trainer Mick Halford and jockey Shane Foley.

A winner over 1400m on the all-weather two weeks ago, Foley’s mount picked up well from the rear to lead 200m from home and won nicely.

Foley said: “That is the fourth week running we have had a winner and it has been a great run. He won well last time but this was a better race and he is probably better on the turf.

“Hopefully we can continue in this kind of form.”

Norway were next, landing the following 1600m all-weather handicap with Avon Pearl, a first UAE winner for trainer Rune Haugen who was saddling his fifth runner locally.

Settled well off the pace by Pat Dobbs, the winner made smooth progress 400m out, tracking the leaders 200m from home before surging to the front and winning in style.

Dobbs said: “The fast gallop really helped us and turning for home I was travelling really well and just hoping for a bit of luck in running. Fortunately the gaps appeared and he won well.”

International domination of the card continued with the hard fought victory of the UK raider Medicean Man, trained by Jeremy Gask, in the 1000m turf handicap. A course and distance winner at last year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, he was ridden here, as he was when winning then, by Harry Bentley.

The jockey said: “They did not go as fast as you would have expected but it is not an issue with this horse because he settles so well. I was happy tracking the speed and I know he quickens.

“Once we hit the front he has had to battle with the runner-up getting to our girths but he then responded again. He loves a battle!

Ireland were back in the winner’s enclosure after Elleval, runner-up in last year’s UAE Derby, won the 2000m all-weather handicap, ridden by Fergal Lynch for trainer David Marnane.

The pair were combining to record their third win of this year’s Carnival.

A frantic early gallop persuaded Lynch to set his mount in mid-division, on the rail, before asking him to close 400m out. When a gap opened 300m from home, they shot through it, running on strongly to deny Start Right.

Lynch said: “They went so quickly that I was happy to settle him in and give him a breather down the far side. He then quickened really nicely to record a good victory in what had appeared a hot handicap.

“Hopefully he is still improving.”