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Dubai City Of Gold thriller goes to Old Persian


Old Persian overcame trouble in running to collar Racing History on the line in a thrilling finish to the G2 Dubai City Of Gold Sponsored By Emirates SkyCargo at Meydan, UAE, on Super Saturday, 9 March.

The four-year-old Dubawi colt, making his seasonal return in the 12-furlong turf contest, raced in second before settling in third on the inside rail under William Buick after a furlong and a half.

Old Persian was relegated to sixth at the top of the straight as Racing History (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon), who set steady fractions at the head of the 10-strong field, made a bold bid for the line.

William Buick switched out turning into the straight, but was forced to wait to deliver his challenge until the final furlong.

Old Persian flew home once seeing daylight, getting up in the shadow of the post to beat Racing History by a short-head in 2m 32.68s on good ground, with the Godolphin duo finishing three lengths clear of Desert Encounter.

Charlie Appleby said: “I thought Christophe (Soumillon) had got his fractions spot on with Racing History.

“It was no fault of William’s – it was just the way the race panned out and Old Persian was down on the rail there with not much racing room.

“But class prevailed in the end. Old Persian showed a good gear change and going forward he is going to have to step up in class again now. Hopefully, that experience will have sharpened up his racing style.

“Old Persian was a very big two-year-old and we gave him a bit of time. We all know what these Dubawis do, especially from three to four. All his homework has been pleasing, but we feel we left a bit on there for Dubai World Cup night.

“Old Persian has a bright future ahead of him – he is already a three-time G2 winner now, having won at Royal Ascot and beaten Cross Counter at York before tonight.

“We took the gamble of running him in the St Leger last season, but the petrol gauge ran out between the three-furlong and two-furlong pole that time, and we were very pleased with his preparation coming into this evening.

“We have our eyes firmly set on the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic (1m 4f) on Dubai World Cup night (Saturday, 30 March), so hopefully there is still a little bit of improvement to come. He was a bit fresh in the paddock tonight and there should be a bit more to come.

“A mile and a half is Old Persian’s maximum trip, so he will head to the Dubai Sheema Classic, while Ispolini has booked his slot in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup (2m) on the same night.

“Cross Counter did a nice piece of work this morning and pleased us. We will sit on the fence for a bit regarding which race to run him in, but I would imagine that he will probably go down the Dubai Gold Cup route.”

William Buick commented: “I can’t imagine it was pretty to watch, but I had so much horse underneath me.

“The race developed at a funny stage – we were halfway round the turn and everyone was peeling off, making a run for it. I made my move and ended up getting stuck behind a wall of horses but, once Old Persian got in the clear, it was a lovely performance.

“He was making his seasonal return and Christophe Soumillon got first run on me, so there was no question that he had a lot of ground to make up. He picked up very well and all he had to do was keep going until the line.

“It was a lovely run to build on for Dubai World Cup night. Let’s hope.”

Christophe Soumillon added: “Racing History ran a great race.

“Unfortunately, we did the most difficult part to go to the front with a steady pace and the jockeys came to my outside very early. So I had to start my run three furlongs out. If that would have happened in the straight, I think I could have won the race.

“Anyway, it was a great run and I’m very happy with the horse.”