Lord Glitters and O’Neill’s Appreciated Wins in Dubai

Old favorite Lord Glitter sparkled in victory as the fifth meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival took on a very international shine Feb. 11 at Meydan Racecourse.

For the second straight week, American trainer Doug O’Neill captured a prep race for the Emirates Dubai World Cup (G1). A Russian-owned graduate of the Keeneland sales ring won the UAE Two Thousand Guineas (G3). And locally trained Meraas took out a preview of the group 1 dirt sprint on World Cup night.

Horses bred in Turkey, Argentina, Germany, and Brazil also figured in the placings while the Godolphin home team weathered the storm of invaders with two turf winners—Global Storm and Storm Damage both by Night of Thunder .

Nine-year-old Lord Glitters, a light gray son of Whiipper is a familiar and popular presence at the Carnival and looked to have lost nothing from his earlier successes as he rallied from last with a smooth move through the stretch run to land the Singspiel Stakes Presented By Race Of UAE Innovates (G2) for the second straight year.

The favorite, Royal Fleet appeared to have bettered Godolphin mate Zakowski midway down the lane but those two could only finish second and third in the 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8 miles) turf test.

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“Anytime you ride him, you need a bit of luck,” said jockey Daniel Tudhope of the British-trained old warrior’s typical last-to-first tactics. “There was a steady gallop, no stop-and-start, so I was able to keep him going without issues.”

Lord Glitters won the Bahrain International Trophy (G3) at Sakhir in November but reported fourth in his 2022 debut at Meydan Jan. 21, a race Tudhope reckoned he needed.

“He’s taken another step forward,” the rider said. “There’s still some room for improvement.”

A natural progression from the Singspiel would be the Jebbel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) on Super Saturday March 5, which Lord Glitters also won last season, and the $5 million Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World (G1), where he finished sixth .

Photo: Dubai Racing Club

Appreciated (outside) prevails in the Curlin Stakes at Meydan

O’Neill’s eight-horse invasion of Dubai bore unexpected fruit in the listed Curlin Stakes Presented By Race Of Ambition at World Cup distance—albeit not the pace likely to be run on March 26. Jockey Fernando Jara, who had expected to get the eventual winner, Appreciated out to a forward position instead found himself last through the early furlongs and facing the prospect of closing into a glacial pace.

Overcoming all that, Jara got the 6-year-old Acclamation gelding up to battle head to head through the final 200 meters with Sanad Libya before prevailing by a head. Godolphin’s Big Team completed an American-bred, all-long shot trifecta. Ugurtay and the favorite, Salute The Soldier were fourth and fifth.

“It wasn’t the plan to be back there,” Jara said. “We got squeezed so we went to Plan B.” At the end, he added, “I thought the other horse might come back and get me but my horse kept on.”

The Curlin is designed as a step toward the World Cup but the time of the race—2:08.12—does not argue that Appreciated can compete with the heavyweights expected there, including the O’Neill-trained Hot Rod Charlie winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 Presented by the Longines Record (G2) a week earlier.

O’Neill elected to skip the UAE Two Thousand Guineas, scratching Feb. 4 winner Get Back Goldie in favor of a potential run when the Goldencents colt’s owners are expected to be watching the Al Bastakiya Stakes on Super Saturday.

Azure Coast (Pavel Vashchenko - Antonio Fresu) wins UAE 2000 Guineas Presented By Race Of Creativity 11, Feb 2022 – 1600m, Dirt race
Photo: Dubai Racing Club

Azure Coast captures the UAE Two Thousand Guineas at Meydan

That opened the way for Azure Coast a Street Sense colt who rallied from last in the 13-horse Guineas field under Antonio Fresu, to draw clear in the stretch and win by two lengths. The international theme of the evening was underscored as South American-bred runners Kiefer and Quality Boone finished second and third.

Azure Coast, out of the Empire Maker mare Divine Rule, sold for $65,000 to Vladimir Kazakov at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Kazakov took the colt home to Moscow, where he won at first asking going one mile. In his only other start, Dec. 16 at Meydan, he won from well off the pace.

The Guineas leads naturally to the UAE Derby (G2) on World Cup night, a race which, in turn, offers the winner 100 points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series. Kazakov told Dubai Racing Channel presenter Laura Martin through an interpreter he intends to keep Azure Coast in Dubai, “see how he does and then take a decision.

“This is the best hippodrome in the world. I’m very happy to be racing here,” Kazakov said.

Fresu completed a double on the night, riding Meraas to a determined victory in the Al Shindagha Sprint Presented By Sustainability Race (G3) at 1,200 meters on the dirt—a prep for the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on World Cup night. Meraas, a 5-year-old by Oasis Dream appears to have rounded into form after having throat surgery and being gelded early in 2021. He finished the season with a 4 3/4-length win at Meydan in December and the Al Shindagha was his 2022 debut.

The Godolphin wins were in a listed seven-furlong heat and a 1 1/2-mile handicap. The latter could propel Global Storm to the staying race on the World Cup program.


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