Big City Man stars in Saudi double in Dubai
Report: UAE, Thursday
Nad Al Sheba
WITH just a week to go until the Dubai Carnival, Saudi Arabian-trained horses served notice that they will be a force to be reckoned with thanks to a double at Nad Al Sheba courtesy of Big City Man and Noble Bedouin.
Trainer Jerry Barton, back at the helm in Riyadh, teamed up with Panamanian jockey Jose Verenzuela for both Saudi winners, the most notable of which was the sprinter Big City Man.
The four-year-old, unarced since August 2007, had won three of his four starts in his native USA.
He overcame his absence from the track in no uncertain fashion as he routed a decent field for the 6f conditions race on the dirt, prompting lofty aspirations for the carnival, as Barton's assistant Stephane Chevalier explained.
"World Cup night and the Golden Shaheen is his target undoubtedly and we will think about the Al Shindagha Sprint and Mahab Al Shimaal en route."
Noble Bedouin's victory came after arguably the most exciting finish of the season in the 1m2f turf handicap, where the first four home were separated by just over a length.
A maiden after eight previousoutings on dirt, Noble Bedouin was last turning into the straight but just got up in the dying strides.
Chevalier said: "He did not act on the dirt in Saudi and hopefully he will get the turf carnival rating with him now."
Both Saudi winners carried the colours of the Prince Sultan Mohd Saud Al Kabeer which have enjoyed carnival success with the likes of Gold For Sale and Simpatico Bribon, while Sei Mi finished second and fourth in the Dubai World Cup.
The concluding 1m handicap proved the perfect opportunity for the enigmatic T-Bird (Doug Watson/Fernando Jara) to win for the first time since December 2005.
Clearly relishing the change of surface after two dirt runs this season, the seven-year-old swooped from last to win going away.
"The ability has always been there but he is a bit of a character," said Watson. "The step up to a mile has suited and Fernando has given him a great ride."
There was drama in the 1m maiden when leader and UAE debutant Al Wujood, formerly trained by David Simcock, hung violently across the track over a furlong out, handing the race to Kala Kanta (Satish Seemar/Richard Mullen), who snatched a clear berth down the rail.
Mullen went on to complete a double as Rod Simpson saddled his second thoroughbred winner of the season as Shahin Shah led on the line to win the 1m handicap.