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Runaway Al Bastakiya win for Divine Image


Divine Image became the first filly to capture the Listed Al Bastakiya with an impressive victory in the extended nine-furlong dirt contest at Meydan, UAE, on Super Saturday, 9 March.

The Charlie Appleby-trained daughter of Scat Daddy, successful over the same course and distance in the G3 UAE Oaks on Thursday, 21 February, was quickly into her stride and soon disputed third among the 14 runners.

The three-year-old filly continued to track the leaders and cruised up under Brett Doyle to go a clear third turning for home.

Divine Image was switched out at the top of the straight and quickened well to take up the running over a furlong from home before skipping clear to score by seven and a quarter lengths eased down in 1m 59.07s.

Charlie Appleby commented: “Divine Image is a great finisher – we have seen that in all three of her runs at the Carnival now – and full credit to the team.

“I am delighted for them and for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, who is here this evening to see a nice filly win.

“She has been tricky, but Brett Doyle has been riding her out for the last couple of weeks, since we knew that William Buick wouldn’t be able to do the weight. It’s so nice to have a team of guys that get on and gel with the horses.

“The stewards have been very kind in allowing us to work with Divine Image, while Shane Ryan has done some gate work with her as well.

“She is a very talented filly, but is learning on the job and it was a huge team effort tonight.

“We had a discussion beforehand of whether we would go for the G2 UAE Derby on Dubai World Cup night (Saturday, 30 March), and we won’t rush into it.

“The race is on the cards, but we also have the Kentucky Oaks (G1, 1m 1f, Churchill Downs, USA, Friday, 3 May) to take into consideration.”

Brett Doyle said: “It is always great to ride a winner at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, but with the boss being here makes it more special.

“Charlie gave me a bit of notice, 10 days, that I would probably be riding Divine Image today so I was well prepared

“It is great to see the work from everyone pay off with Divine Image. Oliver Wilson, who has ridden out Divine Image all winter, has done a great job and I have had the pleasure for the last week or so.

“She was very well behaved. We expected her to be a bit geed up – she has been in the past – but she seems to be getting better with every run.

“She did not put a foot out of place today. She is an improving filly, who is learning on the job, and has done it very well today.

“She wants to get on with it and I am sure that she will get better as she goes along – she is still a bit green – it was only her fourth start.

“Once she got going in the straight, it was all over. She is a big, rangy filly and has won unchallenged. I am sure that there is more in the locker.”