Danyah, center, with Dane O’Neill at the reins, wins the G1 Al Quoz Sprint
Danyah put a host of specialist sprinters to the sword when flying up the middle under Dane O’Neill to deliver a head victory for Shadwell and trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri in the $1.5-million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) Saturday at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
Having been campaigned over 1,400 meters and 1,600 meters since arriving in the UAE, he outran the rest on his first start at six furlongs since October 2019, at which early stage of his career he was trained in Britain by Owen Burrows.
With the field staying up the middle of the track any perceived bias for those drawn high was negated and there were a host of chances spread across the track inside the final 200 meters.
Al Suhail and William Buick appeared to be traveling all over the winner but had to settle for third, while The Astrologist also made a final, decisive challenge, finishing just a head behind the winner for Australian-based Leon and Troy Corstens.
A truly international finish was rounded out by the Hong Kong pair of Sight Success and Duke Wai, with a length covering the first five.
Danyah, a 6-year-old gelding by Invincible Spirit out of Cuis Ghaire, by Galileo, finished the trip in 1:08.61.
Bred to be a star as the son of an Albany Stakes winner in Cuis Ghaire, it was Danyah who proved toughest of all and was led in by the Shadwell principal, Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Al Mheiri was able to celebrate a third World Cup night success following the victories of Tamarkuz in the 2015 Godolphin Mile and Muarrab in the Dubai Golden Shaheen a year later.
He said: “He had been running over seven furlongs and a mile and we had an invite for the Godolphin Mile but we thought we would try him over six (furlongs) in the Al Quoz. We felt he had enough speed to run well and maybe finish in the placings but to win is a very nice surprise. Great credit to Shadwell for how they planned it and it is a special day for us all.”
O’Neill said: “I’d be lying if I said we were confident beforehand. We thought possibly prize money and that would be great as he has a good cruising speed. It was worth a chance but the low draw in gate five was a concern. It was funny they stayed away from the stands side and I got a great draft into the race behind the second horse and he finished very strongly like a horse that gets further.”
Al Quoz Sprint Quotes:
The Astrologist (2nd), managing owner Nathan Bennett said: “We mapped out a plan back in Australia. We thought the horse was good enough to come over and he proved that when he ran in the Newmarket Handicap. He’s flown the flag well for the Aussies back home. We’ve been invited to Royal Ascot so he won’t go back to Australia, he’ll go to Newmarket and to Marco Botti.”
Assistant trainer Dom Sutton said: “We’re super proud of the horse. He’s such a tough and honest horse and we always knew, if we got him here in as good an order as we could, he was going to be right in the finish. He gave his all, obviously it’s a little bit gut-wrenching to go down by such a small margin but overall, we couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s such a marvel, running two weeks ago in the Newmarket Handicap, coming through a 14-hour flight and performing like that. We are looking forward to getting that Group 1 with him in the near future.”
Future trainer Botti also said: “The owners said they would see how he ran today but that was a huge run. It’s a shame in a way that he was beaten but it was a huge run. I’m delighted for them and wherever he goes in the future, he’s an exciting horse.”
Al Suhail (3rd), jockey William Buick said: “He travelled well and I was probably the last one off the bridle. I don’t think being caught the far side of the field helped him but that’s where the finish ended up. Still, it was a very good run over six furlongs.”
Trainer Charlie Appleby added: “We are delighted obviously we know that it was just his second start back in sprinting. I think a race like the Platinum Jubilee at Ascot will suit him, the stiff six there. He travels extremely well. I thought for a moment the way he travelled we might just have a chance at pinching it but full credit to Sheikha Hissa and the Shadwell team.”
Sight Success (4th), jockey Ryan Moore said: “He’s a very brave horse, he gave his best. I felt the horse that led did not bring me far enough into the race and we were kind of left falling aboard and exposed a long way back. He was tough at the finish. He’s a tough horse.”
Duke Wai (5th), jockey Jerry Chau said: “At the 500 meters, I asked him and he responded well but at the 300 (metres) he looked to level off so I switched my stick and he seemed to respond well to the wire. Very happy with his effort. Fantastic to be here, this is a dream and I dream to one day ride in the Dubai World Cup. This was a great experience and I will learn a lot from this ride.”
Happy Romance (6th), jockey Sean Levey said: “She ran a solid race I thought. She was just drawn bad and couldn’t really get the cover or the route I wanted. Nonetheless she got upsides and I thought she was going to challenge the winner and then she got stuck outside again.”
Al Dasim (7th), jockey Mickael Barzalona said: “He ran very well but he wasn’t quite the same horse as last time out. It was his first time taking on the very top older horses.”
San Donato (8th), jockey Pat Dobbs said: “He ran OK, he finished mid-division.”
Ladies Church (9th), jockey Ben Coen said: “She probably did a bit too much too early.”
Thunder Of Niagara (10th), jockey Ray Dawson said: “Seemed like any of 13 could win there for a minute.”
Flaming Rib (11th), jockey Oisin Murphy said: “He gave a good effort, I wouldn’t give up on him off this. I think he can still have a good season ahead.”
Pogo (13th), jockey Kieran Shoemark said: “That was disappointing. I think we’ve established that he just doesn’t enjoy racing abroad. He likes the domestic style and being able to get to the front and you just can’t do that when you’re racing the Japanese guys. He’ll have another day back home.”
Cazadero (14th), jockey Tyler Gaffalione said: “He hated it out there, I don’t know if it was the ground or the weight but he just never felt comfortable.”
Miqyaas (15th), jockey Oscar Chavez said: “My horse jumped well and was travelling good but the last 300 metres he could not keep up with them.”