Khawlah denies Master in UAE Derby thriller
Report: UAE, Saturday
Meydan: UAE Derby (Group 2) 1m1½f, AW, 3yo
THE superpowers of European racing dominated the UAE Derby when the Godolphin filly Khawlah (Saeed Bin Suroor/Mickael Barzalona) touched off Ballydoyle's Master Of Hounds in a thrilling finish to the $2 million contest.
The daughter of Cape Cross, completing a double for her trainer after the victory of Skysurfers in the Godolphin Mile, is now set for a Classic campaign in Britain.
Sent off 4-1 favourite for Saturday's race with British bookmakers, she was given an immediate quote of 12-1 for the Investec Oaks at Epsom from Coral and Bet365.
Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said: "She'll come back for the Oaks and a mile and a half will suit her very well in the summer.
"She'll get a nice break now and come back for one of the trials - if we find one that's above the tariffs - maybe the Musidora.
"She's a tough filly who is progressing," added Crisford. "Mickael [Barzalona] gaveher a super ride and delivered her at just the right time. You can see she wants a trip - she's crying out for it."
Every running of the UAE Derby since its inception in 2000 has gone to a horse trained by either Saeed Bin Surooror Mike de Kock, and Khawlah's victory was a seventh in the race for her trainer.
With Frankie Dettori unable to do the weight, rising star Mickael Barzalona came in for the ride on the UAE Oaks winner.
The 19-year-old has really made his name at the Dubai Carnival but things did not look to be panning out so well here when Khawlah was trapped three wide throughout and looked to be in trouble turning for home when she was momentarily outpaced.
Dettori attempted to make all on former South American Grade 1 winner Xin Xu Lin only to falter into the straight - he finished fifth - where Ryan Moore kicked Master Of Hounds into a clear lead.
The 11-1 shot looked sure to collect a furlong from home until Khawlah got into full stride and flew down the outer, just getting up on the nod in the shadow of the post to deny Ballydoyle a famous victory on their return to Dubai for the first time since 2005.
Although Barzalona was confident he had won, nobody can have been surprised the winning margin was only a nose, with De Kock's Mahbooba a further three and a half lengths back in third ahead of stable companion Zanzamar.
"Credit to the filly," said Barzalona. "The race didn't pan out like I wanted. It was really the filly that won it, she has so much class and is so brave. I'm very, very proud."
Trainer: Aidan O'BrienPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Aidan O'Brien, who also saddled sixth-placed Alexander Pope, was delighted with Master Of Hounds.
"It was a great run," he said. "It's his first run of the year and Ryan [Moore] gave him a great ride, but he felt he got tired, as he was entitled to do. He's a big, strong colt and will be better through the season.
"He's one of four we've got in the English Guineas and we'll see how he comes out of this, but I'm looking forward to a good season with him."
O'Brien was suitably impressed with his surroundings at Meydan. "It's an amazing place," he said. "Words and pictures can't do it justice.You have to see it to believe it.
"We're privileged to have been invited - the way we've been looked after I can't say how much it's appreciated."