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‘Soldier’ ‘Salutes’ in Al Maktoum Challenge R2


Salute the Soldier (Ger) (Sepoy Aus) captured the second group race of his career in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 at Meydan on Thursday. His win interrupted a Godolphin streak, as the royal blue was first past the post in three of the five races carded for Thoroughbreds on the day.
The Alan Spence-bred settled in a tracking third as Capezzano (Bernardini) showed the way on the front end. However, Salute the Soldier sidled up to the pacesetter’s outside and stuck his neck in front late on the back straight. Capezzano punched back and those two continued to exchange blows around the far turn. Still locked together at the quarter pole, Salute the Soldier inched away from a stubborn Capezzano 300 metres from home. As the wire neared, the Fawzi Nass trainee started to tread water, but held on to win by a length from the closing Thegreatcollection (Saint Anddan). Ajuste Fiscal (Uru) (Ioya Bigtime) completed the trifecta 3/4 of a length back in third. Capezzano hung gamely on for fourth a neck behind.
“It went to plan, I expected Capezzano (Bernardini) to lead and I wanted to sit in second,” said jockey Adrie de Vries. “My horse started to get a bit racy, but I needed to react, and I could give him a blow on the turn to fill him up again. We hit the front soon and he always just does enough, he was getting very tired in the end and he was entitled to, I think we went fast, riding a bit deep. This is a big point for us, maybe we can go for the big one [G1 Dubai World Cup] with this horse. He needs to step up, I think he would have learnt a lot today. He is a funny horse and was late to mature, and not easy to train, and there is still room for improvement.”

Third in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup S. at Newbury in September of 2019 in the colours of Mr. and Mrs. P. Hargreaves and Alan Spence for trainer Clive Cox, the bay was knocked down for 380,000 guineas to Oliver St Lawrence Bloodstock later that fall at the Tattersalls Autumn HIT Sale. Transferred to the Fawzi Nass barn for new owners Victorious, he promptly rewarded his new connections with a handicap win in his Meydan debut last January. Fourth to Thursday’s G2 Al Rashidiya victor Zakouski (GB) (Shamardal) in the G2 Zabeel Mile on Feb. 20, Salute the Soldier captured his first group race, the G3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday in 2020. Coming off a 285-day break, the gelding returned with a fourth in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile behind re-opposing rival Thegreatcollection on Dec. 17, and went one better in the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on Jan. 21.
Pedigree Notes
Salute the Soldier counts as one of 21 black-type winners, 11 at the group level, for Gone West-line stallion Sepoy. His best progeny to date has been the Godolphin filly Alizee (Aus), a winner of the G1 Queen of the Turf S., G1 Futurity S. and G1 Flight S. Salute the Soldier is his second Group 2 winner after G2 German 1000 Guineas heroine Unforgetable Filly (GB).
By far the best foal produced by the unraced Street Fire (Ire), Salute the Soldier is one of five winners from seven to race. His dam’s latest offspring is a yearling filly by Iffraaj (GB). The 6-year-old gelding’s third dam is French listed winner Danzante (Danzig), who was also placed five times at group level in France and America and threw GI Eddie Read H. hero Monzante (Maria’s Mon), as well as French stakes winner Alpha Plus (Mr. Prospector), second in the G3 Prix La Rochette. Danzante was one of five black-type winners for SW Bold Captive (Boldnesian), chief among them GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Skywalker (Relaunch).
Thursday, Meydan, DubaiAL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE R2 SPONSORED BY EMIRATES AIRLINE-G2, $293,000, Meydan, 2-11, 3yo/up, 9 1/2f, 1:57.37, fs.1–SALUTE THE SOLDIER (GER), 126, g, 6, by Sepoy (Aus)1st Dam: Street Fire (Ire), by Street Cry (Ire)2nd Dam: Firedrake, by Kris S.3rd Dam: Danzante, by Danzig(380,000gns HRA ’19 TATAUT). O-Victorious; B-Alan Spence(GER); T-Fawzi Nass; J-Adrie de Vries. $175,800. LifetimeRecord: 20-7-5-3, $672,317. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for   the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Thegreatcollection, 126, g, 7, Saint Anddan–Cactus Cadillac,by Cactus Ridge. O-Zaur Sekrekov; B-Kathleen Amaya,Alexandro Centofanti & Raffaele Centofanti (FL); T-DougWatson. $58,600.3–Ajuste Fiscal (Uru), 126, c, 4, Ioya Bigtime–Braid (Arg), byStorm Surge. O-Stud La Pomme; B-La Concordia (URU);T-Antonio Luiz Cintra Pereira. $29,300.Margins: 1, 3/4, NK.Also Ran: Capezzano, Firnas (GB), Quip, Blown By Wind (GB), Dubai Warrior (GB), Mootasadir (GB). Scratched: Mark of Approval.Click for the Racing Post chart or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO.

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‘Warrior’ Takes Aim at Al Maktoum Challenge R2


Dubai Warrior (GB) | www.racingfotos.com

By Christina Bossinakis Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Dubai Warrior (GB) (Dansili GB) has shown an affinity for the all-weather surface–having recorded six career victories over the surface–and will attempt to translate that form to the dirt in Thursday’s G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 at Meydan. Kicking off 2020 with a win in Lingfield’s G3 Winter Derby S. on the all-weather in February, the John Gosden trainee finished fifth in Sandown’s Listed Coral Gala S. over the summer before returning with a comfortable score in the Nov. 14 Listed Churchill S. at Lingfield. In his latest trip to post, he finished third behind Sangarius (GB) (Kingman GB) and Bangkok (Ire) (Australia GB), who won this season’s renewal of the Winter Derby last weekend. Frankie Dettori, who has won a record five editions of the race, has the mount for the 5-year-old’s seasonal debut.
“He has been pleasing in his work and works nicely enough on the dirt,” said Gosden. “Obviously, a race is a different matter, so we will find out if he handles it Thursday.”
Thegreatcollection (Saint Anddan) rounded out 2020 with a comfortable victory in Meydan’s Listed Dubai Creek Mile Dec. 17 and returned in the new year with a runner-up finish in the Jan. 21 G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1. Trained by Doug Watson, the Zaur Sekrekov-owned gelding reunites with Pat Cosgrave.

“We have been keen to step him up from 1600 meters, so this is the ideal opportunity,” Watson said. “Obviously, it is a good race to stretch him out. I think it will suit him, but it is a strong race.”
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Blown By Wind (GB) (Invincible Spirit Ire), conditioned by Salem bin Ghadayer, returned from a 3 1/2-month respite to finish third in a Meydan handicap over a mile Jan. 7 and took a step forward off of that to win his latest, the G3 Jebel Ali Mile Jan. 22. The trainer is also represented by Group 3 scorer Capezzano (Bernardini) and listed winner Firnas (GB) (Dubawi Ire).
Bin Ghadayer said, “Blown By Wind delighted us at Jebel Ali and has been working well since. Capezzano is also going nicely at home, we just need him to transfer that back to the course.”
He added, “Firnas too is in good shape. He is tough and consistent.”
Also on Thursday’s card at Meydan, Lord Glitters (Fr) (Whipper) attempts to follow up on a confident win last time out in the Jan. 21 G2 Singspiel S. in the G2 Al Rashidiya over this course and distance. The winner of the 2019 renewal of the G1 Queen Anne S. finished third in a pair of group tests at York last summer before finishing runner up behind multiple Group 1 winning Addeybb (Ire) (Pivotal GB) in Ayr’s Listed Doonside Cup S. in September. He concluded the season with a pair of off the board finishes, including a sixth in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Ascot in October.
“That was brilliant in the Singspiel; to travel an 8-year-old and win a big prize was just great,” said trainer David O’Meara. “The penalty does not help, but he has remained in great form.”
Godolphin’s Zakouski (GB) (Shamardal) annexed the G2 Zabeel Mile over this turf course one year ago before spending much of the ensuing season on the sidelines. Fourth in his return to action in the G2 Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards Challenge S. at Newmarket Oct. 9, the 5-year-old bounced back to take that course’s Listed Ben Marshall S. Oct. 30. This season, he was second behind Lord Glitters in last month’s Singspiel and William Buick will try to have the gelding to top the early favorite this time.
“We were obviously pleased with Zakouski’s first outing of the year in the Singspiel S., when he produced a good effort,” said trainer Charlie Appleby. “He has come on for that run and a slightly improved performance should put him bang there.”

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This story was posted in Shared News Europe and tagged Blown By Wind (GB), Dubai Warrior (GB), G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2, G2 Al Rashidiya, Godolphin, John Gosden, Lord Glitters (Fr), Meydan, Thegreatcollection, Zakouski (GB).

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