Godolphin captured two of three turf stakes on “Super Saturday” at Meydan. It took a top effort from a bona fide Group 1 European in Lord Glitters to prevent an all-blue sweep of the course-and-distance preps for the Dubai World Cup night turf events. Recaps of Saturday’s dirt races are available here.
English shipper Lord Glitters has had a productive Carnival for trainer David O’Meara. The deep-closing eight-year-old relished a fast pace that set him up perfectly in the Jan. 21 Singspiel (G2). A less favorable tempo contributed to his third in the Feb. 11 Al Rashidiya (G2), and Saturday’s $260,000 Jebel Hatta (G1) was shaping up much the same way. But Lord Glitters overcame it, and in the process, advertised his form going into the Dubai Turf (G1) on the World Cup card.
Court House was in no great hurry up front, tracked by Eqtiraan, and Godolphin’s well-regarded Al Suhail was taking a strong hold reserved farther back. Al Suhail appeared to launch the winning bid down the lane, but drifted out and couldn’t quite put the race away. Perhaps it was his absence since his breakthrough victory in the July 9 Sir Henry Cecil that told nearing the end of his about nine-furlong comeback.
Lord Glitters was making incremental progress into the frame, until suddenly finding a spurt in the final yards for Danny Tudhope. Spearing between the dogged Eqtiraan and the flagging Al Suhail, the gray prevailed by a half-length in 1:48.44.
Al Suhail also lost second on the line, nipped by Eqtiraan, and he barely kept third by a short head from his Charlie Appleby stablemate Art Du Val. Court House tired to fifth.
“We did not go very quick; we just went steady,” Tudhope said. “I was just trying to keep an eye on William (Buick) and Al Suhail, the danger horse. I was a bit wide, but I wasn’t too worried about that, I was more worried about getting a clear run, and when William’s horse shifted to the right, it probably helped.”
Assistant trainer Matthew Ennis marveled at Lord Glitters’ class over the long haul.
“He is an incredible horse, as an eight-year-old coming back and doing it over and over again. It proves how good he is,” Ennis commented.
“It is a good feeling when he got there, I did not think he would at one stage. But he managed to grind it out and win right on the line.”
Lord Glitters, who was third to Japanese superstar Almond Eye in the 2019 Dubai Turf, scored his signature win in the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot that summer. The Whipper gelding had gone winless thereafter until his winter in Dubai rejuvenated him.
Dubai City of Gold
Appleby and Buick celebrated a convincing win by Walton Street in the $228,000 Dubai City of Gold (G2). The leading local hope for the Sheema Classic (G1), the homebred punched 3 1/2 lengths clear while tying his own 2410-meter course record of 2:26.83.
Godolphin had the superfecta, with Saeed bin Suroor furnishing the second through fourth. Dubai Future was easily best of the rest from his stablemates Desert Fire and Brilliant Light, and the remaining three finishers were strung out.
Walton Street has long shown promise, but the seven-year-old son of Cape Cross is at last in the form of his life. Now the winner of three straight, he landed last September’s Godolphin S. at Newmarket and resurfaced to set the Meydan course record in the Jan. 21 Dubai Racing Club Classic (also over Dubai Future). Walton Street had proven to be Group quality in the past, placing in the 2018 Geoffrey Freer (G3) and 2019 Prix de Reux (G3), before being sidelined.
“He is just in really good form and the team has done really well with him,” Buick said. “When horses reach that age they need that extra love and care. He has managed really well, and he is a really happy horse.
“We were a little slow away from the gate and I was a bit worried because he was a bit different than what he was the last time. But we got a good pitch and the race worked out really well. He is a really straightforward horse to race and no complaints.”
“This race is a very good guide for the Sheema,” Buick added, “but he hasn’t quite got the same profile as Hawkbill (2018) or Old Persian (2019) had when they won this race. This horse has a lot to live up to reach those heights, but he has a lot going for him.”
Nad al Sheba Turf Sprint
Bin Suroor took the nightcap with the Dark Angel filly Final Song, who quickened at the decisive point to beat males in the $228,000 Nad al Sheba Turf Sprint (G3). Under Frankie Dettori, the Godolphin homebred poached enough of a gap to stave off the frenetic finish of Motafaawit by a head. British-based sophomore Acklam Express was off a beat slow but recovered to grab third. Appleby’s well-backed Royal Crusade was a non-threatening sixth.
“She is very honest, and I had a good lead from the speed on my side,” Dettori said. “She actually stays seven furlongs, but she also likes to have a target. I got to a point where she wanted to go, and with sprinters you don’t want to let them down. I probably went a little too soon, but I got three lengths and that was enough to win the race.”
“She is entitled to be in the field” for the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on World Cup night. “She ran a second (in the Feb. 4 Dubai Sprint) and then a win. She is a very honest filly.”
Indeed, Final Song collected six stakes placings prior to her first black-type laurel here, accomplished in 1:10.39 for about six furlongs. Fourth in last summer’s 1000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket, she also took minor awards in the 2019 Queen Mary (G2) and Duchess of Cambridge (G2) as a juvenile, in the UAE 1000 Guineas and Saudi Derby on dirt, and in the Dubai Duty Free Cup to old warhorse Glorious Journey.