Gloria De Campeao wins $10 million Dubai World Cup
Gloria De Campeao won the $10 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday in a photo finish, nosing out long-shot Lizard's Desire to capture the world's richest horse race.
Gloria De Campeao, Lizard's Desire and Allybar practically hit the wire together on the all-weather track at the newly opened Meydan Racecourse.
``This is the best win of my life,'' jockey Tiago Pereira said. ``It's unbelievable.''
Two favorites - Britian-bred Gitano Hernando and U.S.-based Gio Ponti - never seriously challenged during the 1 1/4-mile race.
Gloria De Campeao, a 6-year Brazil-bred whose name is Glorious Champion in Portuguese, won last year's Singapore Cup. He ran in the previous two Dubai World Cups and was beaten by 14 lengths by Well Armed a year ago.
The World Cup was the highlight of an eight-race card worth $26 million. Despite the economic slowdown, Dubai's rulers shelled out $2 billion to construct two racetracks, a grandstand that holds 60,000 spectators, a 290-room luxury hotel, a marina and a horse racing museum.
Gloria de Campeao led all the way until almost getting beat at the finish. Lizard's Desire jockey, Kevin Shea, initially started celebrating before being told he had fallen short by a nose.
Winning trainer Pascal Bary lauded the heart of Gloria de Campeao.
``If he's alone after he's taken the lead and no one comes after him, it is so difficult to catch him,'' Bary said. ``He wants to fight.''
In earlier races, the Dubai royal family showed it remains a force in horse racing.
Al Shemali won the $5 million Dubai Duty Free in one of the day's biggest upsets. Al Shemali, owned by Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, was not expected to challenge favorites Presvis and Alexandros. But he came on toward the end and outran Bankable. Presvis finished 11th and Alexandros 14th.
``It was a pleasant surprise but the stable had been in terrific form and I knew he'd stay,'' Al Shemali jockey Royston French said. ``It was the case of getting a clear split and we got it. It's the most prestigious win of my career.''
It was the third victory for the royal family in the eight races, including the $1 million Godolphin Mile by a horse from Sheik Mohammed's Godolphin Racing stable.
Since the 1980s, Sheik Mohammed has turned Godolphin into a big player racing with purchases of top bloodstock around the world and the establishment of operations in Kentucky and South Carolina.
Sheik Mohammed's Calming Influence held off a late charge from Green Coast in the Godolphin Mile.
Calming Influence, ridden by United Arab Emirates jockey Ahmad Ajtebi, prevailed after an early struggle with Cat Junior and Le Drakkar. It appeared Calming Influence was coasting to victory but had to hold off Green Coast. The favorite Desert Party faded and never made a serious challenge.
Musir pulled away from Raihana and Della Barba to win the $2 million UAE Derby.
It was a 1-2 finish for a cousin of Sheik Mohammed's. Musir, the favorite, drew alongside Raihana and Della Barba before pulling away and winning by about a length.
``It's huge,'' Musir trainer Mike de Kock said. ``I was never worried during the race. I said before this was a very good horse. It knows exactly what to do in the race.''
Kinsale King won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, outpacing favorite Rocket Man. Jaafer won the opening Dubai Kahayla Classic, and Joy and Fun took the Al Quoz Sprint.