Dubai: Despite being sidelined for over two months with a neck injury last season, Ryan Moore stockpiled an astonishing 16 Group 1 wins in what was a tumultuous year for the three-time British champion jockey.
On Saturday, Moore sent out a warning that his hunger for success at the highest level endures when riding a picture perfect race aboard the Japanese raider Real Steel to win the $6million (Dh22 million) Group 1 Dubai Turf (formerly Dubai Duty Free), the joint-richest turf race in the world together with the Group 1 Sheema Classic.
The performance highlighted Moore’s extraordinary skills in the saddle as he was obliged to overcome a wide draw in the 14th gate of the 15-horse field to put his horse into contention in what was arguably the toughest race on the card.
However, the champion secured a handy position in fourth soon after the break with the local hope Ghaamer dictating affairs ahead of Godolphin’s Very Special and the Satish Seemar-trained Farrier.Marco Botti’s mare Euro Charline finished strongly under Frankie Dettori but it was Moore’s mount who lived up to his name to run on for a half a length victory.
Godolphin’s Tryster was flying at the finished but had to settle for third after having left it too late under William Buick.
Ertijaal, ridden by Douglas Whyte, deputising for an injured Dane O’Neil was a head back in third.
Real Steel’s victory was a third Dubai Turf win for Japan after Admire Moon in 2007 and Just A Way in 2014. “He’s a beautiful horse, he’s got lots of quality,” said Moore. “It was a big effort from the horse, he had a tough trip and was out wide but has toughed it out.
“He never runs a bad race. He’s a very brave horse and has had to do it the hard way.
“I had a tough trip early, I was caught three deep and I thought maybe I could get a little bit of cover halfway round the turn but the horse in front of me was obstructing me, so I had to send him on a little bit sooner than I would have liked,” added the jockey.
“I was running on empty at the end, but he’s a beautiful horse with lots of quality and he’s just better than them.”
Godolphin handler Charlie Appleby had strong claims of winning the Dubai Turf with Tryster, an impressive winner of a Group 1 Jebel Hatta, while his Godolphin teammate Saeed Bin Surour gave his filly Very Special an outside chance, although he admitted that she was a very progressive type.
William Buick, who was aboard Tyster, said: “He ran great. He missed the break, that’s what he does when he runs his best races. It is by far the best run of his life and the first time he has ever taken on horses like that. He’s been beaten genuinely by racing the best way for him. It rode like a very good race and I don’t think he’s ever been this fast in his life.”
Very Special’s rider James Doyle commented: “She ran a good race. She may have been just one race too far in her campaign. She was a little bit flat. A bit quiet to the gate. I felt that. When I let her go in the straight she didn’t give her as much as I had hoped. Solid effort. I’m proud of her.”
However, the race was all about Real Steel, the four-year-old son of Deep Impact, who had run some big races last year finishing second in the Japanese Guineas and fourth in the Derby.
He also found the dual Classic winner Duramente, who ran in the Sheema Classic, too strong for him when an promising third in his prep race for the Dubai Turf last month.
Ketsuhito Yahagi, son of Yoshito Yahagi, Real Steel’s trainer was struggling to control his jubilation and said: “I can describe this win in two words: team work. All of us have worked hard day and night to be here in the winner’s enclosure.
“There were many who did not believe that we could do it, but tonight he has shown the world that he is world-class and we feel so proud to be here on this special night.
- With inputs from Alaric Gomes, Senior Reporter & Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter