Hunter's lights up Meydan

  • Last Updated: February 7 2013, 18:56 GMT

Saeed bin Suroor's Hunter's Light showed a smart change of gear to claim round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan under Silvestre de Sousa.

Hunter's Light: Showed smart change of gear
Hunter's Light: Showed smart change of gear

The Group Two prize attracted a top-quality field, with former Andre Fabre inmate Saint Baudolino making his debut for Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Await The Dawn was another fascinating participant, a former winner of the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot for Aidan O'Brien, but now trained by South African maestro Mike de Kock.

While that pair were held up, 7-2 shot Hunter's Light was never far off the pace in the extended nine-furlong contest and quickened up to go by Surfer in the straight and win decisively.

Another Godolphin runner, Prince Bishop, picked up minor honours in third, with Saint Baudolino doing all his best work at the finish in fourth.

De Sousa said: "Saeed brought the horse here in great form and I'm pleased he came out and won. He gave me my first Group One winner in Europe (in Italy in November) and I was delighted to keep the ride.

"He seems to be getting better and better. He had a blow-out there and should improve again."

Bin Suroor added: "He improved last year to win the Group One in Italy and with time he has improved physically. He has handled the Tapeta, he has shown class and he faced better horses tonight.

"Sheikh Mohammed will decide the plan."

The main supporting race of the afternoon was the UAE 1000 Guineas, with the finish dominated by Godolphin-owned runners.

Al Zarooni's trial winner Music Chart was the leading fancy for the Dubai-based operation, but she could not pick up off a slow pace and had to make do with minor honours in third behind winning stablemate Lovely Pass (7-1)

Bin Suroor's Shuruq split the pair in second, with Sheikh Mohammed's Mar Mar back in fourth.

The British and Irish challengers failed to land a significant blow.

Winning jockey Ahmed Ajtebi said: "She's a nice filly and I rode her at Ascot last year when she won nicely.

"Today she battled well, she likes the surface and she was in the right race."

Newmarket handler David Simcock was among the winners as Harry Bentley guided 9-2 shot Ottoman Empire to an impressive victory in the GN Focus Handicap.

"He battled all the way and I knew a furlong out he would put the race to bed. He always travels into his races very well," said Bentley.

Elleval then struck a blow for the Irish as he showed a brilliant turn of foot to claim the Meydan Classic Trial under Fergal Lynch.

David Marnane's gelding was a 12-1 shot on his first start since winning at Dundalk in December and he scythed his way through the pack in the straight to get up and beat El Estruendoso close home.

"I'm delighted with him. He's a lovely horse we've always liked and he's improving all the time," said Marnane.

"Fergal gave him a brilliant ride and he quickened up very well.

"He was a little bit further back than I wanted him to be, but he quickened really well from a furlong down and he's a horse with a bright future.

"Fergal knows what he's doing and I'm very lucky to have him.

"We'll sit down and think about what we do now. He's a horse who probably wants to step up a bit on trip."

Ireland went close to completing a double on the card, with Jessica Harrington's Bob Le Beau and Mick Halford's Certerach both running superb races in the Classifieds Handicap.

Bob Le Beau cut out much of the running under Gary Carroll, but was eventually caught close home and was beaten a little over a length into fourth.

Certerach and Shane Foley were part of the closing pack and they finished strongly to grab third spot behind the De Kock-trained winner Star Empire (11-2).

Winning jockey Christophe Soumillon said: "He's very tough and he ran very well last time on his first run for a long time.

"Today we had a lovely run, it was a tight finish, but very enjoyable."

De Kock also claimed the closing Freehold Handicap with the Paul Hanagan-ridden Royal Ridge.


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