Sports Monks

Salute The Soldier fires away on Super Saturday

Three weeks after winning the second round of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge, the six-year-old from Sepoy replicated that by also taking the spoils in the third round of the Challenge, the final dress rehearsal before the World Cup.

Salute The Soldier raised trainer Fawzi Nass and jockey Adrie de Vries hopes of winning the big one — the $12 million Dubai World Cup in three weeks time, following a scintillating run on ‘Super Saturday’.

Three weeks after winning the second round of the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge, the six-year-old from Sepoy replicated that by also taking the spoils in the third round of the Challenge, the final dress rehearsal before the World Cup.

Salute The Soldier made all, across the 10 furlongs, to triumph by 1.75 lengths on the dirt surface of the Meydan Racecourse.

Nass has previously triumphed on World Cup night with Krypton Factor winning the Dubai Golden Shaheen in 2012 and the Bahraini trainer has his eyes trained on the most prestigious of them all.

“That was only the Golden Shaheen, this is the real deal,” Nass said after the race.

Having already won Round 2 last month to book his entry for the World Cup, Nass had pondered if running him again was worth the risk.

“When you have a horse like that, who has already qualified for the World Cup, why take a risk of getting beat. But then, thinking about it, it is quite a long gap from his last win to the World Cup night. He’s a horse that is full of enthusiasm, so we thought why not,” he explained.

De Vries, meanwhile, hoped for the dream run to continue.

“Just a little bit,” De Vries replied, when asked whether he was dreaming of a fairytale on the big night.

“We always thought he would improve and he did that again today (Saturday) on that extra half furlong. I hope we have him spot on for the big day,” he added.

Meanwhile, Daniel Tudhope piloted Lord Glitters to a thrilling 0.5 length victory over the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Eqtiraan in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta, the prep for the Group 1 Dubai Turf.

The night saw American trainer Doug Watson and jockey Patrick Dobbs notch a pair of Group 3s, with Canvassed claiming the Mahab Al Shimaal, prep for the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, and Midnight Sands winning the Burj Nahaar, a prep for the Group 2 Godolphin Mile.

Panadol kicked the evening into gear by landing the Al Bastakiya listed race over 1,900 metres, the prep race for the Group 2 UAE Derby.

Saddled by Emirati handler Salem bin Ghadayer and the ride of Mickael Barzalona, Panadol led from gate to post to win the dirt contest by 0.75 lengths over Speight’spercomete.

“He won on his first start here, and today (Saturday), he did it really well, going to the front and holding on throughout. We hope he can carry on improving,” bin Ghadayer said of three-year-old Flatter colt, who is now unbeaten in two starts.

“He has given us a lot of confidence and he should have enough time to recover for the Derby,” he added.

About half hour later, Walton Street strode to a commanding victory in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold on turf, a prep for the Dubai Sheema Classic, as Godolphin made a clean sweep of the top four spots.

The charge of British conditioner Charlie Appleby and the mount of William Buick, the seven-year-old from Cape Cross, beat stablemate Dubai Future by 3.5 lengths in the 12-furlong affair. It was Walton Street’s third win on the bounce and the sixth of his career, in 16 starts.

“He is in very good form,” said Buick.

“The race worked out well for him and this race was a very good guide for the Sheema,” he added.

Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s Final Song, the mount of Frankie Dettori, wrapped up the night by claiming the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint, a prep for the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint.

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