Dubai Warrior and Good Effort secured their Finals Day places with commanding victories in the Fast-Track Qualifiers at Lingfield Park this afternoon, Saturday, November 14.
The former continued his fine record on the All-Weather with a powerful display in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes over 10 furlongs, a Fast-Track Qualifier for the Betway Easter Classic over the same distance at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 2.
Dubai Warrior is now unbeaten in three starts over 10 furlongs at Lingfield Park, with today’s success adding to victories in last season’s Listed Betway Quebec Stakes and G3 Betway Winter Derby. In total, the imposing four-year-old has won six of his seven starts on the All-Weather.
Trained by John Gosden and ridden today by Robert Havlin, Dubai Warrior was sent off the 4/9 favourite against four rivals.
Outsider Golden Lips (Harry Dunlop/Josephine Gordon) led for the first half of the race before surrendering the advantage to Palavecino (Brian Meehan/Martin Dwyer) leaving the back straight.
Dubai Warrior travelled strongly throughout behind the pace, unlike second favourite Sinjaari (William Haggas/Tom Marquand), and laid down a strong challenge to Palavecino approaching the home turn.
The hot favourite quickly assumed command passing the two-furlong pole and strode clear to score by three and a half lengths. Sinjaari stayed on well to take second after losing his position, with Palavecino a length and a quarter further back in third.
Havlin said: “Dubai Warrior has always been a big boy and, as you saw today, he is still a bit big. He is not one we bully at home, so he will come on for the run.
“I only thought the pace was strong for two furlongs down the back and then it steadied up again. I just didn’t want to give Martin [Dwyer] too much rope. We had a ding-dong and he stayed with me for a bit, but this lad knows his way around here.
“He was 9lb clear on the ratings today, but you still have to go out there and reproduce it. As I said, he is still a bit big today and took a blow with me turning in, which worried me for a stride or two, but then off he went before looking at the big screen as he normally does.
“Dubai Warrior has only run twice on turf in France and at Sandown [beaten both times], and I don’t think we can completely write that off just yet. He doesn’t want soft ground, as he is a real good mover who floats along. We will have to pick our races carefully, but I am sure the boss has a plan.”
In the other Fast-Track Qualifier, crack All-Weather sprinter Good Effort (Ismail Mohammed) blitzed 11 rivals to take the Listed Betway Golden Rose Stakes over six furlongs, setting up a tilt at the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championship on Good Friday.
From an inside draw in stall three, Good Effort broke well and was never seriously challenged under an astute front-running ride from Ray Dawson. The 5/2 favourite held a healthy advantage at the top of the straight and kept up the gallop to win by a length and a half from Lampang (Tim Easterby/Silvestre de Sousa). Godolphin runner On The Warpath (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) was a head further back in third.
Today’s success is a fifth straight win on the All-Weather for Good Effort, a run of form that includes victories in a Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle in January and the Listed Betway Cleves Stakes at Lingfield Park in February.
Dawson, who was unable to use his 5lb claim in this race, said of the five-year-old: “Good Effort is such a professional and it is privilege to be getting opportunities on a horse like this. It is everything you aim for as a jockey, getting on horses as good as him.
“He is so professional; he pinged the stalls and travelled, and just does everything in his own time. With this horse, you almost just let him dictate the pace while you sit on him. You just let him do it himself really. It is privilege to ride a horse like this.
“He will obviously come back here for Finals Day, but I was just chatting with Jose Santos [assistant trainer] about what to do in the meantime as there are a couple of races that he could go for. Jose does an awful lot of work in Ismail Mohammed’s yard and he has done a great job with this horse.”