Al Fahidi Fort victory for classy D’bai
D’bai made an impressive seasonal return with a decisive victory in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort as Charlie Appleby saddled the first three home for Godolphin in the seven-furlong turf race on week four of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 24 January.
The five-year-old son of Dubawi, who broke the track record when successful in a handicap over the same course and distance on his first start last year, was held up to get cover and raced in 10th of the 13 runners under James Doyle.
He started to take closer order towards the outside turning for home and ran on strongly in the straight to hit the front just over a furlong from home.
D’bai ran on well and was eased before the line to win by a length and three quarters in 1m 23.40s – just over a second outside his course record – on good ground.
Mythical Magic (Charlie Appleby/Colm O’Donoghue), who raced in fifth for much of the race, took second near the line, with Bravo Zolo (Charlie Appleby/Brett Doyle) made good headway to dead-heat for third.
Charlie Appleby commented: “We were pleased with D’bai coming into the race and, statistically, his first run is generally his better run.
“He got a lovely pitch around there and, once they turned into the straight, he put that gear change in and put the race to bed.
“The plan was to come to this race first time out. We have dabbled over six furlongs but, as you saw there, seven furlongs is his ultimate trip.
“Options over seven furlongs are limited so we did not want to use that first run up on a run we did not need. We were confident coming into today that he was fit and ready.
“It will be a bit trickier for him going forward with a G2 penalty over his head, but he will be competitive.
“We could drop him back six furlongs, but he is probably horse who will wind up going internationally again - he could just have one more Dubai run and then look toward Europe and Australia.”
James Doyle declared: “D’bai seems to thrive out here, but ultimately first time out is the time to catch him.
“From a slightly awkward draw, I ended up in an awkward position, but thankfully I had cover all the way because he can start tanking with no cover.
“The pace felt no more than fair. We went a nice pace for a furlong, like we usually do, and then everybody sorts themselves out and a few people were getting in a tangle.
“From where I was, I could not see what the leaders were doing – I knew old Janoobi was up there and, having beaten him last year, I know he keeps whacking away.
“I probably pressed the panic button a bit soon because suddenly within five strides I was in front. Full credit to the horse because he likes to delivered a bit later than that.
“D’bai is in between trips really. We have run him at six furlongs and he just lacks a little bit of tow, whereas over a mile he is a little weak at the finish. Seven furlongs is perfect for him.
“He is more relaxed this year and that could be the key to him getting another furlong. We have got plenty of horses in this division, so we will have to try to sort them out.”
Colm O’Donoghue explained: “It was a very smooth run from Mythical Magic. There was a good pace, he settled and was travelling beautifully.
“He quickened up well and galloped all the way to the line. He had no problem stepping up in trip and both him and the winner are nice horses.”
Brett Doyle added: “It was a perfect run from Bravo Zolo. He travelled around well and quickened up nicely. He ran right to the line and will improve for the run.”