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Surfer Sails home in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Under Richard Mullen

Photo: Cedric Lane (UAEracingpics@gmail.com)

Satish Seemar Star Claims Feature on Opening Dubai World Cup Carnival Night

Meydan Racecourse staged the opening fixture of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday evening and the Surfer, trained by Satish Seemar and the mount of stable jockey, Richard Mullen won the featured Thoroughbred race, the Group 2 opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Victorious in the Listed Dubai Mile Creek, over the same course and distance, 21 days earlier, Surfer has also been placed in the second and third rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge in the past.

Mullen was positive, sending his mount for home about 700m out but the pair had to work hard to deny Frankyfourfingers who looked a big danger 300m out.

He would have been a first winner for new trainer, Salem bin Ghadayer but Mullen’s mount found plenty for pressure and they won well in the end.

“This horse just loves the dirt,” said Mullen. “He always worked well on it at home and has shown a real liking for it here at Meydan. He ran some great races here on the old all-weather surface but this is really his game.

“We will have to sit down and plan whether to step up in trip or stick to 1600m with the Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday and the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night possible targets.”

The Group 1 Purebred Arabian equivalent, the opening race on the card, saw Majed Al Jahouri’s amazing nine-race winning streak in local Group One Purebred Arabian contests come to an end.

He won all eight last season, and the first one of this campaign but his Rizaq was only second behind Bigg N Rich, trained by Eric Lemartinel and always going nicely under Wayne Smith.

The pair hit the front, still traveling well, halfway up the straight and quickened away from old rival and previous leader, AF Lafeh.

“Everything went right for him this evening whereas I could not get a clear run last time when AF Lafeh beat us.
“I was always going best and then he quickened when I asked him.”

The Dubai World Cup Carnival’s leading trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, wasted no time opening his 2015 account and was in double form, highlighted by the very easy victory of True Story in the Listed Singspiel Stakes.

Once new stable jockey, James Doyle, took his mount to the front at the top of the straight, the race was over as a contest. Considered a live Epsom Derby prospect last year, after winning the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket he was then third in the Dante Stakes before a seventh in the Epsom Classic.

After three further defeats he was subsequently gelded.

“He’s a little bit of a boy really,” said Doyle. “He was on his toes before the race, but that’s a good sign. He’s settled since they gelded him which has been the making of him. He was well fancied in the Derby and didn’t quite stay probably, but he won nicely tonight and I’m sure there`s more to come.”

Bin Suroor had initiated his brace with the appropriately named I’m Back winning the first Thoroughbred race, a 1900m dirt handicap.

Dane O’Neill was in the saddle and the pair hit the front 200m before fighting off a renewed challenge from the gallant Henry Clay who had tried to make all under Pat Dobbs.

“He was certainly game, said O’Neill. “We all know how tough the second is and my fellow showed a great attitude as well. It is nice to get an early winner on the board.”

Second in the 1000m turf sprint on the card last year when headed close home by Ahtoug, the Fawzi Nass-trained Hototo went one better this time, with Ahtoug among his nine victims.

Headed in the dying strides 12 months ago, when he tried to make all, he was produced to lead about 300m out by Luke Morris for whom he was a first UAE winner.

“This horse has a really high cruising speed and the team had him very fit for this return to action,” said Nass. “I was happy to get a lead into the race and he then quickened very well.”

Faulkner, winner of the first trial on the Meydan dirt, made it three wins from three official starts when finishing well to land a 1400m dirt handicap under Pat Dobbs, riding for his main employer, Doug Watson.

Drawn in 13, Dobbs was forced to take him in midfield before asking his mount to close on the home turn. Faulkner responded gamely to put his head in front where it mattered.

“We were not the best away,” explained Dobbs. “From that draw we knew I would need to be patient but he is a nice young, inexperienced horse and one we have always liked.”

The meeting concluded with a 1400 turf handicap, won by Safety Check, saddled by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin.
It was a first UAE winner for apprentice Cam Hardie who said: “I won in England on this horse and it is brilliant to ride a winner at Meydan and at the Carnival.”