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Safety Check Earns His Black Type in G2 Al Fahidi Fort

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Godolphin Runner Charts Course for Zabeel Mile

A step up in class proved no obstacle for the Godolphin-trained Safety Check as Charlie Appleby’s runner was the comfortable winner of the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort in the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s Gulf News night at Meydan on Thursday.

A handicap winner over the same 1400m course and distance two weeks earlier, Safety Check recorded his biggest career win to date. Apprentice Cam Hardie had been in the saddle on the previous occasion but stable jockey, William Buick, was aboard for Thursday’s big win.

Buick always looked comfortable and his mount quickened to the front in style to win easily and, in doing so, ended a run of three consecutive Al Fahidi Fort wins for South African, Mike De Kock.

“You cannot help but be impressed with that,” said Buick. “I was always happy and he quickened nicely.”

Appleby added: “We knew the horse was in rude health and were very hopeful of a big run but we could not have expected him to win such a good race so well.

“He loves the 1400m trip, stays 1600m but has the pace for 1200m so we have options. We will go for the Zabeel Mile next.”

While the De Kock team were out of luck in the feature, they have always held four-year-old Umgiyo in high regard and the gelding rewarded their faith when winning for only the second time in the Gulf News Classified 1800m turf handicap.

Last for most of the way, he was pulled wide early in the straight by Christophe Soumillon and swooped to the front to deny Ocean Tempest and Tenor, both representing England and trainer John Ryan.

“He picked up nicely when I asked him,” said Soumillon. “They went pretty quick which has helped him.

“He had been working well so we were quite hopeful. He will improve for the outing as well.”

The opening 1200m dirt handicap was a red letter occasion for Norway-based trainer Niels Petersen who saddled his first winner with his 74th and 75th UAE runners.

Beat Baby, who was reshod at the start, and jockey, Per-Anders Graberg made all. It was a third local winner, on his 55th mount for the jockey.

A long time supporter of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Petersen was delighted.

“It has been a long time coming,” he said. “This horse was a very close second last year and it is just superb to get that winner on the board.
“He has really taken well to the Meydan dirt and it is a big result for the whole team and Scandinavia.”

Salem bin Ghadayer was another trainer celebrating a first UAE winner after stable jockey, Mickael Barzalona, drove Hunting Ground clear in the second of two dirt handicaps over 2000m, a race that was not part of the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Satish Seemar and Zabeel Stables dominated the 2000m dirt handicap with stable apprentice, Marc Monaghan, claiming the spoils on Toolain with the pair chased home by Farrier and stable jockey Richard Mullen.

Monaghan held his mount well off the early pace, which was pretty frantic, particularly in the early stages with several runners keen to lead.
It was Henry Clay and Pat Dobbs who managed to get to the front and the pair still led turning for home, chased by Torchlighter and eventual runner-up, Farrier.

Monaghan’s mount was soon making smooth progress as Torchlighter started to weaken and Toolain stormed to the front 200m from home to win easily.

“It was only his second back for us having been in Saudi Arabia,” said Monaghan. “We actually thought he would run well and he has loved that dirt surface and running through horses.

“If you look at his form in Saudi Arabia he was third to the very useful Ron The Greek in November which was a very good effort.”

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum supplied the first and second in an 1800m dirt handicap with the owner’s first jockey, Paul Hanagan on runner-up Haatheq.

Trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and a great servant to the yard over many years, Haatheq had no answer to Tamarkuz, an easy winner for Musabah Al Muhairi and Dane O’Neill, also retained by the owner.

A horse who has had issues in the starting stalls in the past, O’Neill’s mount was on his best behaviour this time and was always handy.

Once O’Neill kicked him clear, the race was over as a contest.

“He has plenty of ability and won well,” said the jockey. “He is not the most straightforward at the gates but hopefully there is more to come from him.”

The meeting concluded with a 2435m turf handicap which produced the best finish of the night with Adrie De Vries, claiming his landmark 50th UAE winner. He was having a rare outing for Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor, aboard Al Saham. The pair won a photo from the Mark Johnston-trained Fire Fighting under Silvestre de Sousa.