First Ruler takes charge in Vazirabad Handicap
Improving four-year-old First Ruler unleashed a potent turn of foot to claim the 12-furlong Vazirabad Handicap at Meydan, UAE, on Friday, 3 February.
The son of Dubawi, who is out of a half-sister to Ghaiyyath, was drawn widest of all in stall 11 but soon tacked over to settle in seventh.
First Ruler started to take closer order with half a mile to race and accelerated markedly after being angled out by James Doyle at the top of the straight, swooping into the lead over a furlong and a half from home.
The Charlie Appleby-trained runner drifted on to the inside rail entering the final furlong but had plenty in reserve to see off Get Shirty by a length, with a further two and a quarter lengths back to Global Heat in third.
Charlie Appleby said: “First Ruler has done little wrong in his career and saw the trip out well. He has a nice, progressive handicapping profile. I thought for a minute that James might have gone a bit too early but he is riding out of his skin at the moment.”
James Doyle added: “The draw was the obvious worry beforehand but First Ruler popped really well tonight. There was a contested lead early on, which meant that we were able to slide into a nice position, and we had a dream run round after that.
“I would have preferred the horses in front to have taken me into the race a little further. I thought I produced First Ruler early enough and he had plenty of time to have a look. He can lug a bit but is clearly talented.”