Ryan Moore and Gentildonna overcame a troubled passage to win the Dubai Sheema Classic presented by Longines at Meydan.
- Related Content
Moore had the perfect position in the first half of midfield against the rail and looked in control as he eased off the rail to avoid weakening rivals on the turn for home.
However, last year's runner-up looked in serious trouble as Moore failed to find a passage through Cirrus Des Aigles and Ambivalent and was forced to switch the Deep Impact filly in a dramatic move.
Gentildonna was able to pick up again and ultimately ran out a relatively comfortable winner from the brilliant French veteran, Cirrus Des Aigles, with Ambivalent in third.
Moore said: "It is hard to say just how good she is because when she gets there, she doesn't do a lot but she's a very tough horse. It's hard to get to the bottom of her."
Her delighted trainer, Sei Ishizaka, added: "She's getting even better. It was a tough race. Her main target will be a third attempt at the Japan Cup. This was her second time and she's really getting used to being here and I thought she would make it when Ryan (jockey Moore) shifted her to the outside. I am impressed with her gutsy performance."
Christophe Soumillon, jockey of Cirrus Des Aigles, said: "I had a really good run off a strong pace that suited us. I saw Ryan and wanted to get first run on him. My horse battled really well.
"Unfortunately, we were up against a dual Japan Cup winner and on the night she was just too good."
Mike de Kock's runner Mars suffered an ultimately fatal heart attack in the early stages and as Richard Hughes attempted to pull him up, he crashed into the fair rail and threw the British champion jockey over the top.
Hughes was taken to hospital but was said to be only winded, with a few cuts and bruises, and was expected to be fit to fly home.
Fourth placed Empoli was hampered in the incident and his pilot, Adrie de Vries, thought it may have cost him the race: "When the horse ran off at the first bend, he wiped me out. He did very well to run on into fourth. Unlucky."
There were no such complaints from Andrea Atzeni who rode third home Ambivalent.
"She has ran a blinder and I could not be more pleased with her. She travelled well and then quickened nicely," he said.
"Turning in I thought I might win but I obviously could not see what was travelling in behind me. She has improved since last year and is unbelievably tough."