Secret Circle Rounds Them Up In Golden Shaheen

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Secret Circle (USA) reasserted American primacy in the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News courtesy of a determined, front-running victory as a tenacious Hong Kong challenge fell just short.

The winner, a dual Breeders’ Cup champion and runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last November, was always prominent, vying for the lead out three-deep on the track for Victor Espinoza.

Having established a clear break by about a length at the furlong pole, the six-year-old entire found enough reserves in the stretch to repel the late thrust by the Sha Tin-trained Super Jockey (NZ), giving everything for Ryan Moore, by a head.
It was a race where it paid to be on the pace.

Another Hong Kong raider, Rich Tapestry (IRE), who helped force the early speed on the inside rail, travelled sweetly until 200m from home but couldn’t pull out any more in the finish and ran one and a quarter lengths further back in third. El Padrino (NZ) ran fourth for Singapore.

Winning jockey Victor Espinoza reported post-race: “What a thrill. He jumped well and we swung a little wide on the pace with the two Hong Kong horses inside me.

“The pace was good but we weren’t going too fast. Then he gave me a good kick at the top of the stretch and from that point I always felt we were going to do enough to win.”

Espinoza added: “The second horse came at us strongly but my guy battled real hard.
“He had the best American form in the race, running so well in Breeders’ Cups in the past, and now he has done the same here. He’s just a top-class sprinter. He’s really tough and he just wants to win.”

For trainer Bob Baffert, the result was his first success in the race having been second twice in the past.

This was the tenth victory for an American horse in 20 editions of the race and the winning time was 1 minute 10.64 seconds, the quickest thus far on the new Meydan dirt surface.

Quotes for the Group 1 US$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News

Victor Espinoza (jockey, Secret Circle (USA), 1st) – “He jumped well. He swung wide with the two Hong Kong horses and he gave me a kick in the stretch. He was very brave at the finish to hang on. He’s a top class horse. All his American form proves that and he’s done the same here.”

Ryan Moore (jockey, Super Jockey (NZ), 2nd) – “He ran well and was staying on right to the line.”

Olivier Doleuze (jockey, Rich Tapestry (IRE), 3rd) – “I rode him to have a good position throughout the race and he did.

“He’s been very brave and he’s tough. He didn’t stop at any point and his form has been very consistent. We know he’s a horse who has got a lot of speed and we let him use it.”

Oscar Chavez (jockey, El Padrino (NZ), 4th) – “He didn’t miss the start but he just couldn’t go early. He didn’t like the kickback. When I got him outside a few of the horses, he was just brilliant.”

Joel Rosario (jockey, Big Macher (USA), 5th) – “I kind of asked the (starter) to wait a little bit because (Big Macher) was moving around, but they just let them go so I missed the break.

“He ran a great race - he came flying after that. If he would have broken better, he could have finished better. Well, who knows? But probably. He tried hard, he gave me everything he had.”

Richard Baltas (trainer, Big Macher (USA), 5th) – “It was Breeders’ Cup revisited (when Big Macher lost all chance with a bad start).”

Pat Dobbs (jockey, Cool Cowboy (USA), 6th) – “He jumped very good but all the speed was on his inside. We drew 13 here and were good to stay on and finish where we did.”

Andrea Atzeni (jockey, Speed Hawk (USA), 7th) – “They went flat out from the start. The track is riding a bit deep and it probably did not suit him. He still ran consistently and he’ll be a good sprinter for the rest of the year.”

Oisin Murphy (jockey, United Color (USA), 9th) – “We did better than I expected. I was able to across and get a nice place among the leaders. He actually travelled not too bad. It`s a big step up in class from a Group 3 to a Group 1. He was actually in front of Shaishee today though. Off the form from Super Saturday, he`s run a big race.”

Paul Hanagan (jockey, Shaishee (USA), 10th) – “They went some gallop up front and he found it very hard to lie up.”

Kieren Fallon (jockey, Krypton Factor (GB), 12th) – “He doesn`t want to be in the gate too long. And of course they couldn`t get one horse in. I`m in the gate too long and with the hood off as well. So with no hood on, you miss the kick. And you miss the kick here, you are dead.”

Jose Lezcano (jockey, Montiridge (IRE), 13th) – “My horse missed the break.”