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Fourth Godolphin victory provided by Mountain Hunter


Godolphin enjoyed a terrific time at the third fixture of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on the evening of Thursday, 25 January.

A fourth victory on the night was achieved in the final race, the 10-furlong handicap on turf, by a four-year-old son Lonhro, Mountain Hunter, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who sent out three of the winners.

Mountain Hunter, unbeaten previously in two starts on turf, failed to act on the dirt at Meydan when tried on the surface a week ago and bounced back to form with an excellent ride from Christophe Soumillon.

Drawn widest of all in 14, Mountain Hunter broke smartly on the outside and soon led, enabling the jockey to bring the horse over to the inside rail before steadying the pace.

Mountain Hunter was asked to go for home entering the straight and ran on well to hold off the other Godolphin challenger in the race, Banksea (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), by three lengths in 2m 2.93s.

Banksea, who also broke well but raced a bit keenly, was settled back in fifth and then sixth on the inside before making good progress in the straight.

Saeed bin Suroor commented: “The horses are running well and I am very pleased to have three winners tonight.

“Mountain Hunter likes being in front and I told the jockey to keep him handy.”

Christophe Soumillon said: “I was hoping the horse would jump out of the gates much better than last week.

“Last week on the dirt when Mountain Hunter got the kick-back, he could not go in the race so he was at the back of the field and did not enjoy it.

“Today was a different game – after three or four strides I was nearly in the top position and I looked around to see if anybody wanted to go on and saw they were happy to let me lead so I went to the front.

“I was quite confident when I came into the straight and he finally won quite easily. He could be a very nice horse – he is still a bit immature and could have big improvement in him.”

Saeed bin Suroor nearly had a fourth success when Racing Country went down fighting in second behind El Chapo in the second division of the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial over seven furlongs on dirt.

The three-year-old Dubawi colt, making his debut on dirt, broke on terms under Christophe Soumillon and made smooth headway on the outside to lead after a furlong.

Racing Country, moved to the inside, had his nine rivals under pressure entering the home straight.

He was joined and headed by El Chapo approaching the final furlong, but rallied gamely to go down by a half-length in a time of 1m 26.09s. They finished well clear of the third.

Saeed bin Suroor declared: “Racing Country ran pleasingly and will do better over a mile.

“He does not show a lot at home.”

Christophe Soumillon added: “It was a good performance by Racing Country.

“I thought he would come back and catch the winner on the line, but he needed the run.

“He will improve a lot next time.”