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Mountain Hunter brings up fourth Godolphin success

A last-race1-2-3 ensured a fourth winner of the night for Godolphin and a great end to week seven of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 14 February.

The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Mountain Hunter, partnered by Christophe Soumillon, emerged victorious in the 12-furlong handicap on turf. The five-year-old son of Lonhro, stepping up in distance, raced prominently on the inside in the early stages as Astronomer took the 14-strong field along.

With five furlongs remaining, Stage Magic (Charlie Appleby/Colm O’Donoghue) moved to the front and went clear turning into the straight, Mountain Hunter, travelling well, improved from fourth to second entering the straight and he came through to lead with over a furlong and a half to go. He ran on well to triumph by a length and a half from stable companion Red Galileo (Saeed bin Suroor/Rowan Scott), who stayed on strongly after a troubled passage in the straight to snatch second from Walton Street (Charlie Appleby/William Buick), a nose further back in third. The winning time came to 2m 29.32s on good ground.

Saeed bin Suroor said: “We thought that a mile and a half would suit Mountain Hunter and he travelled really well through the race.

“Christophe Soumillon knows the horse and controlled the race well. Mountain Hunter finished strongly and really tried at the end – four horses came to pass him, but he fought them off.

“I think he could run over a little further than a mile and a half in the future and we will keep the options open, but he enjoyed racing over this trip tonight.

“Red Galileo is an eight-year-old now, but he is still trying hard. We will keep him racing and he could step back up to two miles, which is a better distance for him.”

Christophe Soumillon added: “I was really comfortable behind the lead.

“Mountain Hunter jumped out very quickly and I was happy in the front for a short period but, when I saw the horse on my outside take the lead, I was going really well behind him.

“I was really happy when I saw the pace getting even stronger down the back straight. My horse was a bit keen at some points, but he looked to enjoy it when he came between horses in the last turn.

“He didn’t stop when I asked him to go, taking the lead quite easily, and his effort was great right until the end.

“I know that Saeed can get his horses really fit and it looked like Mountain Hunter would get a mile and a half on his pedigree.

“He is a nice, big horse with a great action and I like to ride horses with a bit of speed here, to get into a good position, and that is exactly what happened.

“He looked in great shape tonight and I think there are more options if we try to go further than a mile and a half.

“We will see how he comes out of this run, but he didn’t get tired in the final furlong tonight and could maybe handle further if the pace is less strong.”