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Meydan report: Al Quoz Sprint on agenda for Equilateral after Group Two success

Thu 18 Feb 2021

Equilateral followed up a course-and-distance win four weeks ago by running out a ready scorer of the Group Two Meydan Sprint.

The six-year-old has always been highly regarded, and trainer Charlie Hills may have finally found the key to him – because he was winning two in a row for the first time in his career, on this occasion with Andrea Atzeni on board.

Nigel Tinkler’s Acklam Express caught the eye in second too, having been short of room at a crucial stage.

Hills said of the winner: “I’m really delighted. It’s nice to go and win this race.

“He’s now three from four at Meydan – which is very impressive. I think we’ll look to keep him out there for the Al Quoz Sprint.

“He likes a nice gap between his races. Nicola (Dowell), who is over there, has done a great job with him. He seems to really enjoy it over there.

“The way he finished there I can’t see six furlongs being a problem. He has a lot of speed. They didn’t go much of a gallop there today.

“It’s fantastic for Fitri and Jim (Hay, owners). They are great supporters of ours and are massive supporters of the Dubai Racing Carnival. They spend quite a bit of time over there on business, and it’s great for them to have success.”

Soft Whisper’s Saudi Derby claims were given a big boost when the horse she beat by seven lengths in the UAE 1000 Guineas, Mnasek, bolted up in the UAE Oaks.

Watch: Pat Dobbs on Mnasek

Doug Watson’s filly was slowly away in the Guineas but came breezing around the home turn four wide under Pat Dobbs to win in fine style.

“The last two times I’ve ridden her (at home) she’s jumped very well,” said Dobbs.

“She’s a little bit shy in her mouth, so you have to be very gentle with her.

“She doesn’t have early speed and wasn’t enjoying the kick-back – and once I switched her out, she travelled super all the way.”

There was a bunched finish to the Group Two Zabeel Mile, but it was Charlie Appleby’s D’bai who narrowly came out on top under William Buick.

William Buick discusses D'bai's success

“He’s a lovely horse and he needs things to fall right for him,” said Buick.

“I thought he did well there to come off a slow pace.

“He had a lot of ground to make up, but his class saw him through. You just have to conserve him over a mile a little more, but this is a flat track.”

Summer Romance benefited from a good front-running ride by James Doyle to provide Appleby with a double in the Group Two Balanchine.

Winner of the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom’s Derby meeting last summer, she had clearly come forward from her first run at the Carnival in the Cape Verdi – when she was behind stablemate Althiqa.

The tables were well and truly turned, with Doyle allowed to dictate at his own tempo. Roger Varian’s Stylistique was second, as she was in the Cape Verdi.

“She’s very talented, and it’s easy to forgive her first run because she was very keen,” said Doyle.

“Charlie and his team tinkered with a few things, like mounting her in the pre-parade and headed out after all the runners and wearing a hood, which also helped.

“I was gifted the lead and I wasn’t going quick. I was hopeful she’d hit the line well, and she stuck to her guns.”

Appleby said: “Those fillies will have a little break now. We’ll look at races at Royal Ascot, the Falmouth, and there might be some in France that suit.”

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