Postponed stunned by Godolphin's Prize Money on first start of 2017
Try as he might, Postponed could not quite make up ground lost during a troubled passage in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold at Meydan on Saturday, going down by a neck to Godolphin's Prize Money.
The Roger Varian-trained Postponed had justified favouritism in the contest 12 months ago, but this time connections suffered a frustrating reverse as the 2-5 market leader became the meat in a Godolphin sandwich in the straight before switched to the inside rail by Andrea Atzeni.
Postponed kept on, but so too did the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Prize Money under Adrie de Vries to snare the winner's purse.
Six-year-old Postponed retained his position as the favourite for the Dubai Sheema Classic on World Cup night – which he won last year – but was eased to 9-4 (from 7-4) by Betway, while Prize Money was introduced as joint-second favourite at 4-1.
Prize Money and Postponed were both held up, with the field taken along by King Bolete, a stablemate of Postponed and likewise owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.
Frankie Dettori made a dash for victory on the home turn, driving Dylan Mouth to the lead, but dangers were stacking up behind. Godolphin's Emotionless hit the front a furlong out, with Postponed, who had been forced wide off the home bend, surrounded by riders wearing blue.
Atzeni angled him towards the rail to throw down a final challenge, but Prize Money held on. Emotionless ran on at the same pace to finish third, with Rembrandt Van Rijn a never-nearer fourth. Dylan Mouth was fifth ahead of the other two Godolphin horses, Memorial Day and Famous Kid.
Atzeni said: “He's run a good race against a race-fit opponent and will strip fitter in three weeks' time bidding to defend his Sheema Classic crown.”
De Vries said: “Prize Money is only four and certainly a progressive horse who hopefully has more to offer.
“He carried a big weight to win last time and I knew we had a chance coming here today, but it's hard to be confident against horses of the calibre of Postponed.
“We knew my horse was fit and well, whereas Postponed had been off a while with his big target in three weeks' time. Prize Money should give a good account of himself in the Sheema Classic.”
Bin Suroor added: “We were hopeful of a big run and this horse has thrived in Dubai. He's still improving we hope and is a nice horse to look forward to, both for World Cup night and beyond.”
Dubai Sheema Classic (March 25)
Betway: 9-4 Postponed, 4 Highland Reel, Prize Money, 11-2 Jack Hobbs, 9 Chopin, Satono Crown, 10 bar