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The Racing Dudes team reacts to the Japanese-trained Crown Pride winning Saturday’s UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan, then discuss who they like moving forward, including any potential longshots. Join our replay watch-along to get our instant LIVE reactions to this major Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race, then tell us your thoughts about the race in the Comments section!
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The track press release:
Japan’s grip on the best international races tightened further as Crown Pride ground out a classy victory in the UAE Derby Sponsored By Mubadala in the hands of Damian Lane for trainer Koichi Shintani and owner Teruya Yoshida.
On a day when being close to the pace was important, it was local hope Summer Is Tomorrow who made the running and was travelling smoothly as the field entered the homestretch. Out a little wider, however, loomed Crown Pride and the pair singled out for a duel.
At the furlong marker, Summer Is Tomorrow appeared to have the measure of his Japanese rival, but his stride shortened and the Crown Pride’s reserves of stamina told inside the final 100 metres for a victory by two and three-quarter lengths. Island Falcon finished third for Godolphin just over a length further back.
With four thoroughbred races run, this was a third success for Japan after Bathrat Leon and Stay Foolish had scored earlier. A similar score to that run up at the Saudi Cup meeting a month prior when the Japanese won four races seemed a distinct possibility.
Winning jockey Damian Lane said: “He stepped out okay but didn’t travel too well thereafter and it just took a little bit to get him in a rhythm and get him going. I got crowded a little early but as I say he was able to stride through and take up position and it was plain sailing from there really. I was confident a long way out and although he made hard work of it in the straight, ultimately he was the toughest out there. He’s a strong, tough horse and saw the distance out well.”
He added: “Whenever you jump aboard (a Japanese-trained horse) you can be confident they’re going to be strong and they’re going to run well and it’s just a privilege to be a part of it.”
Bhupat Seemar, trainer of runner-up Summer Is Tomorrow, said: “This horse eats well, trains well, sleeps well – he is the perfect horse to have for any owner or trainer. Maybe we should have gone to the Guineas first and if he had a little bit of a longer race in him, he would have finished a little closer. The furthest he’d gone before today was seven furlongs (1400m), but he’d shown so much natural speed. At least we have a good horse for next year.”
He continued: “He’s been sprinting before so pace comes naturally, the only thing was that the track was playing for speed as well so we thought we might have a little crack at it. Turning for home when he was still travelling, I thought he would pick up a little bit more but without that longer race to condition him he just gave out.
“I’d definitely consider the Kentucky Derby, but I’d have to see if he’s nominated or not first of all. That’s the biggest thing. Why not though? There were some good horses behind him, a couple of Grade 1 horses from America, so now that he’s had that run I think we’d have to think about it.”
3rd – Island Falcon, jockey Pat Cosgrave said: “The added trip was in his favour and he ran well.”
4th – Bendoog, trainer Bhupat Seemar said: “Very happy with his run, he just got on the rail and he got a lot of kickback but he’s an immature horse and he ran one hell of a race.”
4th – Bendoog, jockey Tadhg O’Shea said: “He’s a big shell of a horse and ran very good. He enjoyed a lovely trip around the inside and he drafted off the winner. He’s a big horse and next year when he fills that big frame, there will be more to come.
9th – Azure Coast, jockey Antonio Fresu said: “My horse was uncomfortable going over the two turns and didn’t handle the track very well and didn’t perform.”
10th – Withering, jockey Adrie de Vries said: “It was alway going to be a very tough race. We weren’t very lucky with the draw and my horse was hanging all the way and he wasn’t comfortable. I would have liked to get something to get me into the ride, but he was wide always and didn’t get a chance.
15th – Get Back Goldie, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr said: “My horse didn’t handle the track very well, maybe he’s just better on grass.”
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