Mountain Hunter scales Meydan heights again
Five-year-old Mountain Hunter continued his rich vein of form at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival when leading home a Godolphin clean sweep in the concluding 10-furlong turf handicap at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 28 February. He provided a third Godolphin victory on the evening.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained son of Lonhro, successful in a similar contest over two furlongs further on Thursday, 14 February, tacked over from stall 13 under Christophe Soumillon to settle in fourth of the 14 runners as Zorion (Charlie Appleby/James Doyle) led Desert Fire (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave) early on.
Zorion found more under pressure when challenged by Desert Fire with a furlong and a half to race, but the duo were collared well inside the final furlong by Mountain Hunter, who ran on strongly after being switched out.
Mountain Hunter was eased near the line to come home three quarters of a length ahead of Zorion in 2m 3.75s on good ground, with the same margin back to Desert Fire in third.
Saeed bin Suroor commented: “Mountain Hunter won well here two weeks ago and travelled very nicely in behind tonight. He showed a good turn of foot and has improved physically this year.
“He lost his condition after running out here last year so we had to give him two or three months to recover, but he has handled each race really well this season.
“It depends on the pace and how fast they go, but I think that a mile and a quarter is his best trip and he is a tough horse. We will have to look for better races for him.”
Christophe Soumillon added: “Mountain Hunter jumped out of the gate quite fast last time and I only had to pass a few horses, but I was lucky to get cover in fourth position tonight from my wide draw, especially with the headwind down the back straight.
“He has a bit of speed, but I like him over a mile and a half as well. I think Saeed has a better horse for the G1 Dubai Turf (9f), so if there is a race for him on Dubai World Cup night (Saturday, 30 March), it will probably be the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic (1m 4f).
“Mountain Hunter showed us some class tonight. We know that some very good horses from overseas will be coming over for the Dubai Sheema Classic, but he is a horse who can get freshened up now and could run a great race.
“He has won two in a row under big weights and, when horses get so competitive at the Carnival, you can take your chance in a big race.”