The Right Man strikes for France as Limato disappoints
In what was billed as a match between local star Ertijaal and Europe’s Limato, an unheralded French sprinter proved the party-pooper when The Right Man gritted his teeth to edge out America’s Long On Value in a thriller.
Trained by Didier Guillemin in the south-west of France and partnered by Francois-Xavier Bertras, The Right Man had the profile of a sprinter on the up going into the race and was supported into 12-1 as the wet conditions turned things in his favour.
Ertijaal, the track record-holder for both five- and six-furlong turf tracks at Meydan, blasted from the gates but he succumbed to The Right Man within the final furlong, who in turn held the late thrust of the runner-up.
“C'est majestique,” said Guillemin, summing up the moment perfectly. With the help of a translator, he added: “I’m emotional as it’s a big honour to have been invited here, never mind winning. It’s amazing.
"I’m very proud of the horse. He’s shown good form in France and we were very happy with his first run when third at Meydan and we’re delighted he’s come on to win tonight.”
Former jockey Guillemin, whose only previous win at the top-level came when Tin Horse won the French 2,000 Guineas in 2011, added: “Twenty years ago I could never have imagined I’d one day come to Dubai and win a Group 1.
"I’d like to thank the organisers and it’s fabulous what they do here. The horse is going to Hong Kong next if he’s well and then maybe Royal Ascot.”
Bertras, also based in the south-west of France, described the “perfect trip” having sat in Ertijaal’s slipstream before applying the turbos in the final furlong.
He added: “We do this job to live those kind of emotions. I had the favourite in my sight the from the start which made my job a lot easier. He took me a long way into the race before we hit the front and then my horse needed to be brave to hold on.”
Long On Value certainly lived up to his name, running a screamer at 66-1 having been hampered early.
Rider Joel Rosario said: “I got shunted back a bit and had to come back and then around them but he’s finished very strongly and I thought he was going to get there but the winner kept going."
Assistant trainer Riley Mott said a trip to Royal Ascot was worth considering for the runner-up having proved himself on ground officially described as yielding.
Jim Crowley blamed the heavy rain for Ertijaal’s defeat in third, saying: “The combination of six furlongs and soft ground got him beat. It blunted his speed."
Limato never looked comfortable on the rain-softened ground and beat only two home in tenth.