Mubtaahij turns UAE Derby into a one horse race

With an eye-opening win in the $2 million UAE Derby sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum's three-year-old Mubtaahij (IRE) continued his charge towards the Kentucky Derby with a eight-length romp.

Breaking from the rail post in the field of nine, the Mike De Kock-trainee raced in the pocket behind a wall of front runners into the final turn.

He took over at the top of the stretch an increased his margin of victory to the wire. The timer stopped in 1:58.35 for 1900m on fast dirt.

"I was just behind the leaders and the pace was good, so I followed it into the straight, said jockey Christophe Soumillon, who was riding Mubtaahij for the first time.

"I was going very easily and as soon as I pressed the button it was all over. In the end, I kept some energy for the future, especially if he goes to the Kentucky Derby."

It was the fourth win in six lifetime starts for the son of Dubawi, whose lone loss on dirt came to Maftool (USA) in the UAE 2000 Guineas on February 12.

Last early on, Maftool rallied stoutly in the stretch and got up to secure second by three-quarters of a length over Japanese contender Golden Barows (USA), who was forwardly-placed throughout. It was another quarter length back to Motaa (KSA) in fourth.

"He was a bit naughty in the gate," said Maftool's rider Paul Hanagan. "He didn't jump and that was the start of it.  He was never travelling at any stage. He stays, I just wish he could have helped me more."

Mubtaahij earned 100 Kentucky Derby points for the victory and Maftool earned 50 for second. Both horses were early nominees to the American Triple Crown.

Mubtaahij romps to easy victory in the UAE Derby sponsored by the Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group

Credit: Dubai Racing Club // Neville Hopwood