DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — African Story produced a brilliant finish to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday in the world’s richest horse race.
The Godolphin horse is owned by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. With Silvestre De Sousa onboard, the seven-year-old gelding became the sixth winner in this 2,000-meter race for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Starting from post six on the controversial synthetic Tapeta track, 12-1 African Story caught up with Mukhadram with 200 meters to go. Mukhadram, owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s brother, Sheikh Hamdan, finished second and another Godolphin horse Cat O’Mountain, trained by Charlie Appleby, was third.
“There was a lot of pressure at the start of the race because this is our home and Godolphin is expected to do better than others,” De Sousa said. “The horse has got very good track form. He traveled so well and answered all the questions I asked him … I got to track the leader on his outside and then in the straight — all I had to do was take aim. It really was the perfect race for me.”
Ruler of the World, the son of Galileo and trained by Aiden O’Brien, failed to live up to its name and struggled with some distance to go.
Earlier, Japanese horses dominated the two main supporting events on turf in the nine-race card for the night, which offered a total purse of $27.25 million.
Twice Japan Cup champion Gentildonna was a narrow winner in the 2,400-meter $5 million Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, but Just A Way demolished the quality field at the $5 million Group 1 Dubai Duty Free to win the 1,800-meter feature race by 6 1/4 lengths.
In the Sheema Classic, which traditionally gets one of the most competitive fields during the Dubai World Cup night, Gentildonna, ridden by jockey Ryan Moore, overcame a poor draw from post 12 to blitz past Cirrus Des Aigles and Ambivalent in the closing stages.
Just A Way had a powerful finish over the last 400 metres. South African Vercingetorix was second and Britain’s Dank third behind the Naosuke Sugai-trained champion.