Folkswood late surge denies Leshlaa in Dubai Millennium Stakes
Five-year-old Folkswood (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), making his first start since a highly-creditable campaign in Australia that included a third in the G1 Cox Plate, broke well and was soon covered up in third of the 10 runners.
The son of Exceed And Excel continued to hold the same position turning for home but had to wait for a gap as Leshlaa (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) ran on strongly to take up the running approaching the final furlong.
Folkswood flew home after getting a split down the inside soon afterwards, edging out Leshlaa in a photo finish to prevail by a short-head in 2m 2.33s on good turf, with a further length and three-quarters back to third home Earnshaw.
Charlie Appleby commented: “I was wondering what was going to happen in the straight but full credit to William, as he put Folkswood into the gap, and also the horse, who has dug deep and been very brave.
“Folkswood brought the best form to the table tonight – solid Group form – and we were confident that he was going to run a big race as he had been showing his wellbeing at home.
“He was second in the Jebel Hatta last year after racing on the front end but he showed in Australia that he doesn’t have to make the running. He is a horse who is quite versatile and is always going to be very competitive in this type of race.
“We will see how he comes out of tonight but, all being well, he could now head back for another crack at the Jebel Hatta (G1, 9f) here on Super Saturday (10 March).”
William Buick said: “Folkswood was really brave and I had a very committed partner. It got tough turning for home and it was one of those situations that I could see what was going to happen from a long way out.
“There was a hole on the inside, he went through it and, as soon as the gap opened up, I was confident that it was going to be very close. I am glad that he has got his head in front.
“I think he has matured very well from last season and will improve for this run. He is a high-class horse with the form to back it up,and it would be lovely for him to go forward from here.”