Saeed bin Suroor saddled Godolphin's first Group 1 winner of 2014 when he landed the concluding round of the Al Maktoum Challenge for a tenth time with Prince Bishop in Super Saturday's feature race at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
In claiming the US$400,000 win, he emulated stable companion, Hunter's Light who added victory in this 2000m all-weather Dubai World Cup trial to victory in the Group 2 1900m middle round of the series.
Ridden by Kieren Fallon, as he was four weeks ago in the middle round, Prince Bishop was settled in midfield before being asked for more as the runners swept for home.
The Satish Seemar-trained Surfer, third in this race last year, hit the front just over 300m out but was run out of it in the final 100m by Prince Bishop.
Sanshaawes, trained by South African Mike de Kock, ran on well to take second, with Surfer third in the race again.
A delighted Bin Suroor, completing a treble after the earlier victories of Shuruq in the Burj Nahaar and Excellent Result in the Dubai City Of Gold, said: “We have always really liked this horse and he seems to have improved this season. His win in the middle round was a good one but this was a better race and we are delighted with him.
“All being well, we will bring him back for the Dubai World Cup itself in three weeks.”
Bin Suroor has won this race with three subsequent Dubai World Cup winners – Dubai Millennium (2000), Street Cry (2002) and Electrocutionist (2006).
The Group 1 third and final leg of the Purebred Arabian Al Maktoum Challenge, also over 2000m on the all-weather, was won by the Majed Al Jahouri-trained Raaziq, produced to lead in the final strides by Frenchman, Olivier Peslier.
The pair headed the Erwan Charpy-trained Versac PY virtually on the line to maintain the trainer's remarkable winning record in Group 1 races this season, and to continue a frustrating run of seconds in big races at Meydan Racecourse for Versac PY, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Paul Hanagan tracked the pace on Versac PY with Peslier content to bide his time much further back in the field in a steadily run race.
Hanagan went for home about 500m out, with the pair shooting clear and the race looked over but Peslier sent his mount in pursuit and they snared Hanagan's charge in the dying strides.
Al Jahouri trains the winner for HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan, and has been responsible for the winners of every round of the Al Maktoum Challenge this season.
“We were very hopeful as we know he is a nice horse and has run well in both his previous UAE starts behind our very good horse, Rabbah De Carrere.
“That was a good performance and both this winner and Rabbah De Carrere will be here for the Kahayla Classic in three weeks, perhaps with one more.”
Peslier was a late jockey booking, replacing the suspended Silvestre De Sousa who also missed the winning ride on Godolphin's Shuruq in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar. Mickael Barzalona was in the saddle for Bin Suroor and produced the filly to lead close home and deny favourite, Variety Club in the process.
The winner of last year's UAE Oaks, Shuruq made history at the opening meeting of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival when becoming the first filly to win the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge – over the same 1600m all-weather course and distance as this victory.
She is now the only filly to win the Burj Nahaar and is clearly a real favourite of Bin Suroor, who was winning this race for the fourth consecutive year.
The trainer said: “She is just a much better filly on this all-weather surface and all her best form has been here in Dubai at Meydan. We will bring her back in three weeks, probably for the Godolphin Mile.
Barzalona added: “She is a lovely filly and has beaten a very good horse there. I would think she would be a genuine Godolphin Mile contender.
“Silvestre De Sousa told me all about her and I have to thank him for his help.”
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