Barney Roy gave a classy performance to book his World Cup night ticket as he led home a one-two-three for trainer Charlie Appleby in the Group One Jebel Hatta at Meydan.
The six-year-old stepped up from his encouraging win in the Group Two Al Rashidiya in January, on his first run since Royal Ascot last year, to show he retains loads of ability.
Ajwad was the early leader, with Spotify second, before the latter took it up in the straight. William Buick switched Barney Roy (8-11 favourite) to make his bid and quickened in decisive fashion.
Magic Lily stuck on well to get within a length and three-quarters of her stablemate, with Spotify completing the Appleby trio a length and a half away.
All roads now lead to the Dubai Turf on March 28, and Appleby said: “From that draw in 12, we decided we would have to ride him for luck. The horse has not made that easy for William, but that was a great ride in the circumstances.
“The horse is just so enthusiastic and keen to get on with things, but once William had him on an even keel in the straight, he was always going to win. He will go to the Dubai Turf and Magic Lily may do so as well. She has had a brilliant year at Meydan. Spotify had run very well also.”
Buick said: “I brought him out into the straight and he picked them up easily. He has a nice cruising speed, which is helped by his big stride, but also he loves a flat track like Meydan, where he can use that stride.
“It’s a testament to the horse and the team at home, who have done a great job with him ever since he stepped into the yard.”
Dream Castle, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was fourth to give Godolphin the first four.
Wildman Jack dazzles in Dubai
Wildman Jack blew away the opposition with a scintillating display in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint at Meydan.
The American challenger, trained by Doug O’Neill, drew clear in the final furlong to easily take Group Three honours in a record time for the six furlongs.
Wildman Jack was always prominent before cruising into the lead under Fernando Jara two and a half furlongs from home.
The Charlie Appleby-trained Space Blues, the 4-6 favourite, was unable to get in a blow as the 40-1 shot romped to victory by three and three-quarter lengths from Ekhtiyaar, who was also runner-up last year. Laieth came from the clouds to snatch third place at odds of 100-1.
Tom Dascombe’s Angel Alexander had a good position throughout the race, but failed to take a hand in the finish.
O’Neill said: “That was insane. I don’t even know what to say. That was so powerful and he looked like a winner very early on in the race.
“I’m now fired up to stay injury-free and go on to the big day (Al Quoz Sprint World Cup night). He’s always acted special, but you never know how they’re going to mature. He’s just handled everything like a complete pro.”
RaceBets gave the winner a 5-1 quote for the Al Quoz on March 28, and Jara said: “I was so impressed by him and someone told me he broke the record.
“He was just cantering around. He was so relaxed. He seems to be a nice horse.
“He was a different horse today from last time, but they shortened him up in distance. They ran him over seven furlongs last time.
“He’s definitely stepped up today.”
Salute The Soldier relished the switch to dirt with a convincing victory in the Burj Nahaar.
Formerly trained at Lambourn by Clive Cox, the five-year-old won over a mile on turf in January and instantly took to the different surface.
Now with Fawzi Nass in Bahrain, Salute The Soldier (13-2) swept to the front a furlong and a half out under Adrie de Vries and went on to score by five and a half lengths from Axelrod.
Nass said: “He’s always shown he likes the surface and it was good to see him perform like that today. Obviously, the only worry was the kickback, but he has enough speed to keep himself out of it. We’re learning about him.”
Source : Sky Sports