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Shea Shea and Rich Tapestry Rule Super Saturday Sprint Divisions

Rich Tapestry (IRE)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

South Africa and Hong Kong Land Meyan Sprint and Mahab Al Shimaal

For the second year running, the Mike De Kock-trained Shea Shea won the Group 3 Meydan Sprint over the same 1000m turf course and distance while Hong Kong got onto the score board with the victory of Rich Tapestry in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal.

Shea Shea, the South African star sprinter will be defending his 2013 Al Quoz Sprint crown on Dubai World Cup day from a position of strength, after an ultra-confident performance in the official prep race, the Meydan Sprint.

The track record holder, having broken the existing mark in this race last year, before again lowering that time on Dubai World Cup night three weeks later, was initially held up well off the pace by an imperious Christophe Soumillon. At first the Belgian rider seemed keen to find cover before traversing the track to the nearside rail where Shea Shea was asked to quicken 300m out, responding well and hitting the front with about 200m to run.

The winning margin was only a head but he appeared to win a lot more comfortably than that would suggest, especially considering he was without a prep run this season.

De Kock said: “It was his first run since August and he should certainly improve for that run but we knew he was in good shape and fit enough to go very close.

“Christophe has given him a lovely ride and not been at all hard on him. Hopefully he is the one they have to beat back here in three weeks’ time.

“Waiting for Super Saturday was always the plan, followed by Dubai World Cup night and hopefully Royal Ascot in England.”

Soumillon, explaining his move across the track from stall six said: “He likes to follow the rail because he’s a horse who likes some cover. If he hits the front too soon or there’s no horse to follow then he can stop a bit.”

For 300m it appeared Reynaldothewizard would then repeat his victory of 12 months ago in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal, the 1200m all-weather trial for the Group1 Golden Shaheen.

Sent to the front at the top of the straight by Richard Mullen, the Satish Seemar-trained Reynaldothewizard opened up a gap on his rivals but could not withstand the challenge of Hong Kong’s Rich Tapestry.

Olivier Doleuze pulled the Michael Chang-trained runner out to challenge at the 200m pole, the pair soon leading and always holding the renewed challenge of Mullen’s mount.

A delighted Doleuze said: “A new surface is always a question mark but he is a very good sprinter and we have come here with him as there are no races in Hong Kong for him at the moment.

“The big advantage with this horse, apart from his speed, is he is so versatile tactically. I was happy to lead but then Gale Force Ten went to the front so I was just as happy behind him.

“I was always going well and he picked up in style. It is great to have another winner here in Dubai.”

Both Reynaldothewizard last year and the 2012 winner of this race, Krypton Factor, went on to win the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen over the same 1200m all-weather course and distance on Dubai World Cup night.