Dubai: French jockey Francois-Xavier Betras claimed the biggest win of his career when he powered The Right Man to an upset victory in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1), run for the first time over its original distance of six furlongs.
The challenging conditions could not stop Betras from putting on a huge effort, aboard the son of Loup De Vega, before a full house at Meydan Racecourse.
Third behind Godolphin’s Jungle Cat, in the prep race earlier this month, The Right Man looked a different horse altogether, as was ridden out to lead inside the final furlong, a position he just barely held on for a nail-biting victory over American raider Long On Value, who is trained by Bill Mott, best remembered for his exploits with the great Cigar, winner of the inaugural Dubai World Cup in 1996.
Ertijaal, who was narrowly touched off by Australian speedball Buffering in this race a year ago, hit the front before the turn for home, but Jim Crowley’s mount was soon caught out for speed and had to be happy to settle for fourth place. Washington DC finished just out of the places for Aidan O’Brien, with Jeremy Gask’s Medicean Man not too far behind him.
An ecstatic Guillemin said: “To win this is a big surprise and coming into the race, we would have been happy with a place finish. Along with Tin Horse winning the French 2000 Guineas, this is the biggest accomplishment of my career.”
Bertras added: “I was actually quite confident that he would run well as he wasn’t 100 per cent fit in his prep run and I knew he had improved. But this feeling is fantastic.”
William Buick felt that the ground conditions compromised Jungle Cat’s chances: “He normally finishes his races very strongly, but that ground blunted his speed to a degree and although he was staying on well he couldn’t get there.”
Limato, who was billed as the second favourite, was a big disappointment, finishing down the field. Harry Bentley said: “The run is disappointing, there is no doubt about that, but the ground was very loose, especially three furlongs out and he couldn’t handle it. We will have to go back to the drawing board when we get him home.”
Race 5. Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments (Group 1) (Turf)
1. The Right Man (Didier Guillemain) Francois-Xavier Bertas.
2. Long Value (Will Mott) Joel Rosario
3. Ertijaal (Ali Rashid Al Raihe) Jim Crowley
4. Jungle Cat (Charlie Appleby) William Buick
Also Ran: Richard’s Boy, Amazing Kids, Washington DC, Final Venture, Medicean Man, Limato, Baccarat, Finsbury Square.
Distances: Nose, 1 1.4, Nose. Time: 1m 9.59s