D’bai leaves it late in G2 Zabeel Mile
D'bai secured a second G2 victory at Meydan, UAE, when flying home to get up on the line in a thrilling finish to the Zabeel Mile on week five of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Thursday, 18 February.
The Charlie Appleby-trained seven-year-old, successful in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort in 2019, was covered up in eighth for the vast majority of the turf contest as Eqtiraan set steady fractions for the 11-strong field.
Stablemate Art du Val (James Doyle), who raced in second, hit the front a furlong and a half out and rallied gamely when pressed by First Contact inside the final furlong.
D’bai still had six rivals in front of him after being switched out by William Buick over a furlong from home but the son of Dubawi unleashed a withering run, getting up in the final stride for a head success over First Contact.
Art du Val took third, a further neck in arrears, with Bedouin’s Story (Frankie Dettori) finishing strongly in fifth as less than three lengths separated the first nine home.
Charlie Appleby said: “It was a tactical event. They didn’t go a scorching gallop early on but D’bai was stepping up in trip, so we were confident that it was going to suit him. It was a great ride by William – he certainly knew where the line was because he put the horse right there.
“D’bai is a solid campaigner out here. We toyed with the idea of dropping him back in trip and taking him to Saudi Arabia but we looked at the horses we were taking there and felt that he was the right horse to stay here and step up to a mile. It was a good race to watch!”
William Buick said: “I thought that I would get there. D’bai is a bit of a heart in your mouth horse and there was never going to be an end-to-end gallop in tonight’s race. I would have loved to drop him in last to get him properly switched off, but I had to jump and try and get a position.
“I got a good run through behind Velorum and he got into the race nicely. When D’bai got into his top gear, I knew that we had enough time to get there in the end.
“He has been very consistent all through his career. On his day, like he showed this evening, he is a class horse. He competes well in Europe and England – he was behind Space Blues in France last spring – so I am sure there are plenty of options for him there.
“He is a great, fun horse to have around. He makes his presence felt in the morning and is just a model of consistency. It’s a great pleasure to ride him.”