Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum’s Heavy Metal regained his status as the UAE’s leading miler in Saturday’s $1 million Godolphin Mile (G2), the opening race on the Dubai World Cup card.
The Exceed and Excel gelding had been utterly dominant in the Dubai Creek Mile back in December, the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (G2) on the Dubai Carnival kickoff, and the Firebreak (G3). Last time out in Super Saturday’s Burj Nahaar (G3), however, he argued a brutal pace from post 13 and understandably tired late in fourth.
Heavy Metal faced the question of whether he’d gone over the top. And there was the matter of his trainer. With Salem bin Ghadayer beginning to serve a one-year ban, his assistant Sandeep Jadhav was now in charge.
Drawn in post 9 with new rider Ryan Moore, Heavy Metal had to summon all his natural speed to cross over, but once he secured the all-important rail, he was sitting pretty. Moore nursed him on the front the rest of the way, and the eight-year-old veteran held sway by two lengths in 1:36.21.
Muntazah, making his first start in dirt, had a momentary blip in traffic before finishing well for runner-up honors. Japan’s Adirato was another half-length astern in third. Next came Musawaat; Rosa Imperial, Godolphin’s French shipper who ran commendably in her dirt debut from post 13; Burj Nahaar hero Kimbear, who chased early on the outside but weakened in this contrasting set-up; Economic Model, the Hal’s Hope (G3) winner who will now transfer to Nicholas Bachalard here; Raven’s Corner; Special Fighter; Secret Ambition; defending champion Second Summer, never involved after missing the break; Shamaal Nibras; Capezzano; and the tailed-off Akito Crescent.
Quotes from Dubai Racing Club
Trainer Sandeep Jadhav: “It’s been my dream to win the Godolphin Mile for the years since I’ve been an assistant trainer. It’s definitely a storybook finish. I’m not surprised he won. I know this horse is a very good horse. I am not surprised, but just a little bit nervous since this is my first time as a trainer. So that’s the reason. This means so much to me. I can’t put it into words, but it means a lot. It’s definitely very special. I was very confident in the horse. This is just out of this world. It’s very amazing to me. I cannot explain it.”
Jockey Ryan Moore: “We worked hard to get the lead through the first quarter but then he settled and traveled well for me in front. I was able to fill him up before the turn and into the straight I knew it would take a very big effort to get past me. It appears a big advantage to be in front on this track and it played to his strengths. He is a terrifically consistent horse.”
Jockey Jim Crowley on runner-up Muntazah: “He ran very well. It was his first time on the dirt and he ran very well. The winner got first run and I had to wait for a gap. But it was still a big run. Like I said, for it being his first time on dirt it was a big run.”
Christophe Lemaire, who rode Adirato in third: “He broke well. I tried to go in front but Ryan (Moore) was forcing the pace. We settled well behind the winner and had no kickback so we he fought on well in the stretch. The leader was too strong for us but he ran very well.”
Adirato’s trainer Naosuke Sugai: “To run this well against horses of this level from all the world, I’m thrilled with his efforts.”
Jockey Adrie de Vries on Musawaat’s fourth: “It was a good run. They took the pace out of the race in the middle and my horse takes a long time to get going. It was a clever ride in front.”
Mickael Barzalona, rider of fifth-placer Rosa Imperial: “For her first run on the dirt, she ran well.”
Jockey Pat Dobbs on Kimbear in sixth: “He caught himself coming out of the gate, but apart from that it was a good run.”
Jockey Pat Cosgrave on Secret Ambition (10th): “That was a bit disappointing, he ran a little flat, but it’s been a long season.”
Dane O’Neill, rider of Shamaal Nibras (12th): “He boiled over, simple as that – he lost all chance at that point.”
Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who picked up the mount on Capezzano (13th): “He wasn’t great out of the gate and it was always going to be difficult from there.”
Trainer Hisashi Shimizu on Akito Crescent (14th): “He did not break quickly, and that set the tone for the rest of the race. I do not know why.”
Jockey Yutaka Take on Akito Crescent: “He stumbled sometimes in the parade ring, so I was watching him carefully, but he stumbled at the start again and did not run his race.”