California Chrome goes one better with brilliant Dubai run
Real Steel and Postponed take the other big pots at World Cup
Victor Espinoza rides California Chrome to victory in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images
Ryan Moore celebrates after riding Real Steel to victory in the Dubai Turf at Meydan racecourse in Dubai. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images
California Chrome went one better than 12 months ago when winning the €5.1 million Dubai World Cup with a tremendous display at Meydan.
The American challenger was beaten by rank outsider Prince Bishop last year, yet despite being posted wide throughout after breaking from his wide draw, he ran out a comfortable winner.
Frankie Dettori was handy throughout on Mshawish but moved off the rail allowing Mubtaahij his chance.
But Victor Espinoza was happy to sit wide on the bend aboard California Chrome and when he kicked for home the race was over as a contest.
Winner of the first two legs of the American Triple Crown in 2014, the popular Art Sherman-trained five-year-old was supposed to run at Royal Ascot in June, but a late setback prevented an appearance in Britain.
His performance was even more meritorious as Espinoza’s saddle slipped.
Espinoza said: “I was wide but it was comfortable, he did everything right. Perfect.
“Sometimes it is better to be wide than on the inside and everything went well, I stuck next to the leader.
“I could feel the saddle slipping so I kicked for home earlier than I wanted, it went quite far back.
“I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone, it means a lot.”
Sherman said: “He’s got such a fan club in Dubai, it’s great, he got a standing ovation and it made me feel really good.
“I love this place, it’s my third time back. He’s a great horse, what can you say? It’s the dream of a lifetime for me, it doesn’t get better. The Chromies will be going crazy (back home)!”
He went on: “He likes to be on the outside, I just told Victor to get him in a position to win, if you have to lose ground, so be it.
“I wasn’t sure the saddle had slipped until he pulled up.
“I don’t think he’ll go to England, we’ll give him 30 days at the farm to let him unwind and the ultimate goal is the Breeders’ Cup (Classic).”
Ryan Moore struck for Japan as Real Steel ran out an impressive winner of the €5.4 million Dubai Turf .
Charlie Appleby’s Tryster was sent off favourite but William Buick settled him at the back and the slow pace did him no favours.
In contrast, Moore had his mount close to the pace throughout, and despite going wide, it proved the best place to be.
Very Special kicked clear but Moore had the filly in his sights and it was another filly who chased him home in Marco Botti’s Euro Charline.
Tryster did run on strongly for third, as did Intilaaq for Roger Varian, but both were set plenty to do, as was David Simcock’s The Corsican.
Moore said: “I had a tough trip early, I was caught three deep and I thought maybe I could get a little bit of cover halfway round the turn but the horse in front of me was obstructing me, so I had to send him on a little bit sooner than I would have liked.
“I was running on empty at the end, but he’s a beautiful horse with lots of quality and he’s just better than them.”
Postponed ran out a ready winner of the €5.3 million Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan for Roger Varian.
It was a smooth passage for Andrea Atzeni on the favourite, who travelled sweetly throughout before taking over from Aidan O’Brien’s Highland Reel at the head of affairs with a furlong to run.
Continuing the theme of the Japanese raiders on the night Duramente, running on just three shoes after spreading a plate, and Last Impact chased him home, with Highland Reel fading into fourth.
Winner of the King George at Ascot last season, Postponed was moved from Luca Cumani after that and looks like being a major player in all the top middle-distance races in this form.
Varian said: “It was good to watch. I was happy from the outset. We were worried before the race where the pace was, but they look to have gone an even gallop. He was in a good position and the horse quickened well in the straight.
“I’d like to thank Sheikh Mohammed Obaid (owner) and the team at home.
“He’s a very good horse, he had already won a King George when we got him, but he has thrived out here. The team out here with him did a great job, as did the team at home before that, so big credit goes to my staff.
“The big mile-and-a-half races will be for him, but I’ll make a plan with the owner when we get home.”