Estihdaaf takes UAE 2000 Guineas glory for Godolphin at Meydan

Press Association Sport 16:25 09/02/2019
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Estihdaaf turned the UAE 2000 Guineas into a procession as he ran away with the Group Three contest on dirt to be the highlight of a four-timer for Godolphin at Meydan.

Taking trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s record haul in the race to seven, the son of Arch was soon in front despite a slow start.

With jockey Christophe Soumillon setting the fractions, Estihdaaf had too much toe for Walking Thunder and crossed the line five and a half lengths to the good.

Bin Suroor said of the three-year-old: “He improved from his run last time when he finished second. We thought the dirt would suit him because of his breeding.
“I told the jockey before the race to jump and be handy with him as he does when he works well in the mornings.

“He went forward with him and he won well.

“We need to see how he comes out of this race and Sheikh Mohammed will make the decision on his next race.”

Charlie Appleby supplied Godolphin’s other three winners through Dubhe, Nordic Lights and Mubtasim, all ridden by William Buick.

Dubhe led a furlong and a half out in the two-mile Al Naboodah Honeywell Partnership Handicap as his stamina kicked in to score by four lengths from bin Suroor’s Red Galileo to give Godolphin a one-two.

“We were hopeful that Dubhe would cope with the step up to two miles – he has been showing all the right signs and he has the pedigree to stay it,” Appleby told www.godolphin.com.

“We always thought staying was going to be his game.

“We were a bit disappointed with his first start of the year, but he just does himself a bit too well and takes a bit of work.

“He is not the most exuberant worker at home and coming to the races helped him strip a bit fitter – he definitely came forward for the race.

“We will have to see, but Dubhe might have booked himself a ticket to Australia. He has a lot more options now that we know he stays well.”

Nordic Lights (11-4) made most of the running as he took the Al Naboodah Travel Handicap by two and quarter lengths from another bin Suroor inmate, Desert Fire.

“We tried to eliminate the preliminaries as much as possible which helped and coming back to nine furlongs suited,” said Appleby.

“It was a similar run style to the 10 (furlongs) last time, but he got caught late on there. We were confident coming back to the nine he’d have the pace for it and be able to see it out a bit longer.

“We saw at the post he gets himself worked up. We try to keep the lid on him for as long as possible. We were allowed to take him down early and keep him as calm as possible.

“He might not be quite good enough for a Jebel Hatta (Group One), but he’s done nothing wrong there. We’ll get him back home and we’ll have a regroup.”

Mubtasim overcame a wide draw to comfortably land the Al Naboodah Cargo Handicap from Poet’s Society with David Marnane’s Irish raider Freescape running a big race in third place.

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