A revelation on the step up to the staying ranks in the Red Sea Turf H. (G3) on Saudi Cup Day, Japan’s Stay Foolish claimed an even bigger prize by upstaging 1-5 favorite Manobo in Saturday’s $1 million Dubai Gold Cup (G2) at Meydan. The son of Stay Gold was completing a back-to-back double for trainer Yoshito Yahagi, after stablemate Bathrat Leon stunned the Godolphin Mile (G2). Yahagi later made it a treble when Panthalassa dead-heated in the Dubai Turf (G1).
Stay Foolish ranked as the 6-1 second choice, but Godolphin’s Manobo was all the rage with a sparkling 5-for-5 record capped by a course-record romp in the Nad al Sheba Trophy (G3). The minor detail of stretching out to two metric miles, however, turned out to be a major complication.
Whether his inherent stamina was lacking or not, Manobo’s racing manners made it far more difficult. He pulled and fought jockey William Buick, who responded by trying to get him cover further back in the field. By the time the Sea the Stars gelding accepted restraint, he’d wasted too much energy, and got himself in a poor tactical position. Had Buick let him stride on, Manobo would have been in a better spot, and might have gotten away with it.
Meanwhile, Christophe Lemaire was maximizing the chances of Stay Foolish, who was parked on the inside, just behind pacesetting Volcanic Sky through the crawl. On the far turn, Manobo commenced his move, and he had more gears than Stay Foolish as both passed Volcanic Sky down the lane.
Just when it appeared that Manobo’s class would prevail despite his early tantrum, he hit a proverbial brick wall in the final yards. Stay Foolish, to his credit, had stayed doggedly on the favorite’s flank, and found extra once his rival’s vulnerability was exposed. Edging away by a half-length, the streetwise seven-year-old finished in 3:19.64 and paid $14.20.
“He didn’t jump out as fast as he did in Saudi Arabia,” Lemaire said, “but he traveled well. I was not worried about finding a gap in the straight because the horse in front of me was traveling well.
“When I saw Manobo come alongside me powerfully, I thought we were done. Stay Foolish doesn’t have a big turn of foot, but when the Godolphin horse struggled close to the finish, my horse got a lot of confidence and moved forward again. Obviously Manobo was the one to beat and he also had a 2-kilogram advantage.”
Al Madhar passed his stamina test by closing for third, and Alignak was an eye-catching fourth from well back. Passion of Glory reported home fifth, followed by Volcanic Sky; Japan’s Veloce Oro, who stalked early but faded late; Castlebar; Rodrigo Diaz; East Asia; Mirinaque; and Baron Samedi. Emperor of the Sun pulled up before the clubhouse turn, his saddle apparently slipping.
Stay Foolish had not won for almost four years, since the Kyoto Shimbun Hai (G2) in May 2018, when capturing the Red Sea Turf. But the Shadai homebred had placed in a dozen stakes over the course of his career, including the 2017 Hopeful (G1) and three editions of the Kyoto Kinen (G2) (notably to star distaffers Chrono Genesis in 2020 and Loves Only You in 2021. Now he’s won two in a row over longer trips, upping his scorecard to 31-4-5-7.
“After Saudi he enjoyed the atmosphere in Dubai,” Yahagi said. “He was excellent, very comfortable here. He loves Dubai I think.
“I did not give any orders to the jockey. Christophe Lemaire knows what to do. I am not sure what we do with him next.
“We will go back to Japan but my dream would be to go to Royal Ascot for the Gold Cup (G1), but I would need to speak with the owner first.”
Stay Foolish’s dam, Grade 3-placed stakes winner Kauai Lane, is a King Kamehameha half-sister to top-class Japanese performers Black Hawk and Pink Cameo. That trio was produced by Group 3 vixen and Irish classic-placed Silver Lane, a full sister to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Hawkster.