Delightful Dubai

Arrogate grabbed all the headlines at the weekend with his thrilling last-to-first victory in the Dubai World Cup in Meydan.

It’s always exciting to watch a horse cut through the field like he did and he must be some horse to win going away after making up so much ground on his rivals.

However, the performance that was of more interest going forward was that of Jack Hobbs in winning the Sheema Classic.

The prize money on offer in these races is positively mind-blowing and in picking up almost £3m for winning in Meydan, the five-year-old immediately vindicated connections’ decision to keep him in training for another season.

It’s almost two years now since he announced himself on the scene with victory by 12 lengths at Sandown, before bumping into the mighty Golden Horn on his next two starts.

Considering his size he was always likely to get better and better and despite the setback of a cracked pelvis this time last year, he is now starting to fulfil his vast potential.

The dig in the ground suited him on Saturday but his second place in the Derby came on quick ground so he will have all options open to him this year – a comment that also applies to runner-up Seventh Heaven.

Aiden O’Brien’s filly made giant strides in the second half of last season and looks set for another successful campaign. She could be the master of Ballydoyle’s flagbearer this year and although she has stamina in abundance it will be interesting to see if she is tried over shorter in the likes of the Pretty Polly Stakes.

Ribchester’s stamina was stretched to the full in the Dubai Turf over nine furlongs, but in finishing third Richard Fahey’s outstanding colt picked up nearly half a million quid.

The four-year-old has yet to run a bad race and the Yorkshire-based trainer must be looking forward to tilting at the big mile races this summer.

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Back home, Newbury held a very competitive end-of-season NH fixture and the ground had dried out noticeably.

The one that most caught my eye was the talented youngster Don Bersy, who looks poised to be even better with another summer behind him.

Strongly backed to win the juvenile handicap over 2m3f, Tom Symonds’ charge probably disappointed many followers with a rather weak finishing effort.

However, he travelled too strongly for his own good throughout the race and just failed to quite see out the longest trip he’s faced so far.

Stamina won’t be an issue in the future, but clearly he still has plenty of speed for the minimum trip provided he gets some cut in the ground. The Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham looks an obvious early-season target next term and his form looks rock solid.

Scotland trainer Lucinda Russell had a double up at Kelso with a couple of decent types in Big River and Forest Des Aigles.

The former will take a hike for winning the staying hurdle by 10 lengths but he’s done little wrong in his career so far and could go a long way, especially when he gets his favoured soft ground.


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