Gold Cup Gleam in Irish Eyes

Certerach (IRE)
Photo: Cedric Lane (

Irishman Michael Halford and his 6yo gelding Certerach ended fellow trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s record run of having won all five previous Dubai Gold Cup, sponsored by Al Tayer Motors contests– but only by a fast-diminishing neck and after a 15-minute stewards inquiry.

After a muddling pace had produced several leaders, Certerach came into the straight eight horses wide under Jamie Spencer and was still four from the rail when Silvestre de Sousa on last year’s winner, Cavalryman attempted a run on his inside.

Cavalryman was checked for a couple of strides before Certerach, still drifting to his left, raced past the leaders and on to the rail to gain a decisive lead.
Cavalryman, carrying the Godolphin colours, picked up again and gave chase but the post came too late for him to repeat last year’s success.

Mike de Kock-trained Star Empire put South Africa into the placings again, finishing 2 ¼-lengths third, with Australia-bound Moment In Time half a length away fourth for British trainer David Simcock.

The joy of the winner’s Irish connections, who tasted Dubai World Cup Carnival success before he finished third to Cavalryman in the Gold Cup prep race, had to be put on ice, when an objection for “interference in the final 100m” was lodged.

However, after trainer Saeed bin Suroor and de Sousa had put their case to the stewards, the objection was withdrawn and Certerach declared the winner to climax a very successful Carnival for Halford.

A relieved and delighted Halford said: "Certerach has a tendency to idle when he gets to the front and the last 100m seemed very, very long. He shifted in slightly but Jamie said we had nothing to worry about.”

He added: "Staying and fast ground is his forte, so we will look at the Ascot Gold Cup and, further ahead, the Melbourne Cup.

“I have never had a runner in Melbourne and I think the owner would love to go too."

Cavalryman’s trainer Bin Suroor, who had saddled four of his five winners for Godolphin, added: “He was unlucky. He tried hard and ran well.”