Here is a recap of the DubaiRaceNight.com analysis of the winners from a majestic night, the final night, at Nad Al Sheba:
#7 WELL ARMED (Aaron Gryder)
The horse to catch. Aaron Gryder told me on Wednesday that he is going to the front and while he would have preferred to have Albertus Maximus to his outside, he still loves the draw. Pace traditionally does well here and he may keep finding from the front. The connections are thrilled with his behavior this week as the son of Tiznow seems to relish the desert conditions. A good chance to go all the way.
Below, Aaron Gryder on his way out of the jockey’s room
Returning to the winner’s enclosure
Owner Bill Casner of WinStar Farm hosts the big cup of gold as presented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Gryder poses with your correspondent following the record-breaking margin of victory
#2 EASTERN ANTHEM (Ahmad Ajtebi)
Expect this incredibly well-bred son of Singspiel to be way out the back and he might carry Ahmad Ajtebi home on a frozen rope outside the field. This will be the biggest challenge of his career, but strong races at the Carnival against lesser company might only get him a piece of the pie underneath.
Trainer Mubarek bin Shafya (hand on head) celebrates upon hearing his charge, Eastern Anthem won a narrow photo to give him back-to-back $5,000,000 turf races.
Eastern Anthem returns to the walking ring a winner being led (on his right) by owner His Excellency Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
#2 GLADIATORUS (Ahmad Ajtebi)
Intriguing chance here for the local horse as he’s done nothing wrong and will right to the front and hope to give them all the slip. This son of Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Silic stayed on and made all the running in two Carnival starts, the first of which came off a monster layoff. After winning the Zabeel Mile (G2) by open space, under a mostly hand ride, Ahmad Ajtebi will hope to settle him down and get as much out of the pacemaker as possible. Everyone agrees that truly making all here is near impossible, he did it twice without being asked. An $8,000 yearling, anything on the board would be great. A win might be asking too much, but give him a shot at a monster price.
The winning connections behind Gladiatorus started getting loud as their charge roared home and kept finding in the lane – notice the video on the board.
The Emirates first home-grown rider, former camel jockey Ahmad Ajtebi on his first World Cup night victory:
#2 BIG CITY MAN (Jose Verenzuela)
A win in the Al Shindagha Sprint (G3) confirmed his form from a Winter Racing Challenge victory but he could not hold off Gayego in the Mahab Al Shimaal (G3). He loves the going here and he’ll have to step up a notch to compete with the big city girl from the Bob Baffert barn.
Saudi scores their first win on World Cup night with a Winter Racing Challenge and International Racing Carnival graduate Big City Man holding off the game filly Indian Blessing:
Trainer Jerry Barton was all smiles even before the win as I caught him in the paddock for the Godolphin Mile:
#1 REGAL RANSOM (Ted Durcan)
Godolphin admitted he probably wasn’t going to make it to the UAE Derby but that was before Vineyard Haven tanked. Simon Crisford admitted he is a sprinter and having him here could even have him used as a rabbit to insure a solid pace. The distance has increased and his chances of winning have decreased.
Alan Garcia comes out into the walking ring before his eventual win aboard Regal Ransom
#4 TWO STEP SALSA (Lanfranco Dettori)
Won in the easiest fashion debuting in a conditions affair over six furlongs and along with GAYEGO, is considered a quality Met Mile chance for the homestanding connections. His 2008 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile was phenomenal and he has shown a strong determination when running up front. He is the main pace presence in the race and will deserve the shorter price he’ll be offered at. Two Step Salsa hasn’t had to turn for home and face the long stretch yet but when he does, expect him towards the front.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor starts getting excited as his pair of Godolphin runners take off for home