Mystic Guide wins Dubai World Cup

Mystic Guide wins Dubai World Cup


Godolphin’s American operation were celebrating after the 25th running of the Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline, with the Michael Stidham-trained Mystic Guide powering to an authoritative success on the dirt.

Japanese raider Chuwa Wizard was a distant second with the Andre Fabre-trained Magny Cours, having his first run on dirt at the age of six, in third in Godolphin’s second cap. 

It was a race that was more eventful in the preliminaries than the actual contest, which is as much a reflection of Mystic Guide’s dominance as the pre-race antics that led to the £8,759,124 contest going off 14 minutes late.

First the Abdullah Mishrif-trained Great Scot shipped Frankie Dettori and galloped loose on the way to post. Then, once he had been caught and withdrawn, the Musabbeh al Mheiri-trained Military Law slipped under the stalls. Both horse and rider Antonio Fresu seemed none the worse for the potentially dangerous incident.

It all meant a healthy delay to the feature event of the Dubai Carnival, but once finally away Hypothetical and Capezzano grabbed the lead, with Mystic Guide behind in third under Luis Saez.

By the home turn he had loomed upsides the pacesetter looking menacing and straightening up there only looked like being one winner as Saez said go and the pair lengthened right away.

By the line they had skipped 3.75 lengths clear of the rest for one of the most dominant displays on a day of wide-margin wins at odds of 6-4.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Gifts Of Gold made little impact for the British, finishing ninth under Christophe Soumillon.

“I can’t believe it, that was our plan,” said a delighted Saez. Outlining the specifics, he added: “Break, get that position, get him relaxed and then waiting for the top of the stretch. I know he’s going to give me that kick and he did it, he’s a champion.”

For the four-year-old winner, who did not make his racecourse debut until three and was having just his eighth career start, it was a first career top-flight success.

A Grade 2 winner in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga and second to Happy Saver in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in his last two runs in 2020, the son of Ghostzapper got this year off to an impressive start with a six-length rout in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park last month.

“He’s super,” added Saez. “He’s a young horse, but last time I rode him I knew he was a Grade 1 winner and today he proved he’s the champion and I know he’s going to get better and better.”

On the delays at the start, he added: “It was a little bit scary, but he stayed relaxed. Inside I was a little nervous about him, but he did a great job.

“This was my dream when I was a little kid so I can’t believe I’m here right now, this is the most beautiful thing for me and I want to say to my wife, thank you baby and I’m sorry you couldn’t be here.”

Mishriff confirmed his reputation as one of the brightest stars in international racing, reverting to turf and stepping up in trip seamlessly to land a gripping Longines Dubai Sheema Classic and seal a first Group 1 victory for jockey David Egan.

The John Gosden-trained four-year-old, who memorably plundered the Saudi Cup at Riyadh last month over 1m1f on dirt, made smooth progress despite having to go wide on the outer, getting the better of Japanese ace Chrono Genesis in a thrilling finish.

Egan, who offered his condolences to the Maktoum family in the immediate aftermath of this neck success, said: “He’s the horse that’s going to make my career hopefully.

“He brought me to that next level by winning the Saudi Cup and this is just the icing on the cake. Hopefully after winning over a mile and a half around here he can have an exciting summer campaign in Europe.”

He added of the 4-1 winner: “The draw wasn’t ideal but I was always going to take my time a little bit. Mr Gosden gave me free rein and let me ride the horse whatever way he jumped.

“A lot of people were questioning why Mr Gosden and Prince Faisal were running him on the turf over a mile and a half, some said it was the wrong decision not going for the World Cup, which he might have been favourite for, but this was the right decision.”

The winner will now be open to any amount of options on all continents on all surfaces – cut from 8-1 (from 10) with Paddy Power for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while Mogul, the other leading European hope in this 1m4f event, was ultimately well held in seventh after lacking the same daylight as the winner early in the straight.

The ultra-versatile son of Make Believe continued a magic night at Meydan for John and Thady Gosden, who plundered the top-level Dubai Turf with Lord North.

No 10 draw was not enough to scupper the chances of the best horse in the race and he won by clear water, powering clear under Frankie Dettori to win as he liked.

The John and Thady Gosden-trained five-year-old came home in front of Japanese raider Vin De Garde, with the Marco Botti-trained Winter Derby runner-up Felix staying on tenaciously for third.

The 6-4 available about the favourite was a reflection of just how much the outside draw was expected to hinder his chance, but Dettori made those odds look incredibly generous. Able to settle in ninth, one off the rail, he took a tow into the race from Al Suhail, fanned wide off the home turn and challenged down the centre of the track with devastating effect.

With a furlong and a half to run the race was over. With a furlong remaining Dettori put both hands back on the reins and with 50 yards to go he was able to sit up and soak in the moment.

The “It was a nice pace, I followed William’s horse [Buick, rider of Al Suhail] and I had plenty of horse, I know he stays well, so I kicked early and he flew. I didn’t have to do much else after that, he did the rest.

“He was a handful in the early days, so he got gelded. He’s much more focused now and is a horse to go to war with in all the big races this year. He’ll try the Prince of Wales’s again and I’m sure Mr Gosdens will have a plan and have lots of fun.”

The official margin was three lengths at the line but in truth that was that only reflected the minimum of Lord North’s superiority over his 12 rivals.

In his previous 12 starts the Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed-owned gelding had earned £532,591. Already a Group 1 winner, in the 2020 edition of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, he more than quadrupled that number courtesy of the £1,751,824.82 on offer for finishing first.-

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