Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gloria de Campeao wins thrilling DWC on front end

Now that's how a $10 million race should finish!

Globetrotting Gloria de Campeao won by a nose over Lizard's Desire and half a head over Allybar in the Dubai World Cup at the spectacular new Meydan Racecourse Saturday. The Brazilian-bred proved to be the controlling speed, well-piloted by jockey Tiago Pereira, then hung on desperately in the final strides to take the DWC trophy and $6 million for owner Estrela Energia Stables and French trainer Pascal Bary.

The connections of Lizard's Desire settle for $2 million, though his jockey, Kevin Shea, thought he had gotten up in time and pumped his fist at the finish.

The 2,000-meter race was contested over the new racecourse's Tapeta surface. Gloria de Campo, a 7-year-old, was second in this race last year behind Well Armed -- and a distant second, 14 lengths back -- but that renewal was contested over the old, traditional dirt surface at Nad al Sheba.

"I thought I had won but as we passed the post, I looked across and (Shea) was celebrating, so I thought I'd keep quiet and wait for the result," Pereira said. "The horse settled in front and I dropped my hands 300 meters out and asked him to kick on. He was so brave and this is all just a dream."

True to tradition, the DWC was a global contest. Second-place Lizard's Desire is a South African-bred, and Allybar was bred in Ireland. America's hope, turf champion Gio Ponti, who was second on synthetic to Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic, ran a good race, but came home in fourth, a length and a quarter behind Allybar.

British-bred, U.S. Grade 1 synthetic winner Gitano Hernando finished sixth behind Mastery, and America's Richard's Kid was seventh with Garrett Gomez.

The DWC was the third race over the new surface at Meydan for the winner, a likely advantage. He previously won the one-mile Maktoum Challenge Round One-G3 on Jan. 28. Earlier this month, he was second by just a neck in the Maktoum Challenge Round 3-G2 behind Red Desire, who came in 11th of 13 in the World Cup.

Gloria de Campeao obviously scored the signature victory of his career, but he has been successful all over the world. He was a Grade 2 winner at a mile on turf in his native Brazil, was sent to train in France with Bary, won the Singapore Airlines International Cup-G1 in 2009, and for the third consecutive year has won or placed in graded stakes in Dubai.

Still intact, the son of Argentine-bred and -raced G1 winner Impression (Rubiano-Improbable Lady, by Liloy) and out of the Brazilian-bred Clackson mare Audacity, Gloria de Campeao with his Dubai World Cup win has finally punched his ticket to stud duty somewhere, despite his less-than-fashionable pedigree by American auction standards.

Much as he likes Dubai, perhaps Gloria de Campeao belongs among the stallion holdings of Sheikh Mohammed.


  1. Minor correction: the racing circuits of Malaysia and Singapore are complementary (although not unified), but the island of Singapore is an independent republic, not a part of Malaysia.

    Otherwise: a great finish and a masterful ride by Pereira indeed, even if the field was probably not as deep as one would hope for in a 10 mio. race.

    On the other hand, fields for the Sheema Classic, Golden Shaheen and UAE Derby were impressive.

  2. Ah ... Brisnet list the race as: Singapore Airlines Intl. Cup [G1] (MAL).

    Hence my statement. I'll just edit to say G1. :-)

  3. Must be a mistake on their part. Bris formsheets list the race as run in Singapore(Sin) (which in itself is odd, because the track is more commonly listed as Kranji (Sin)).

  4. Allybar could have won the entire thing outright had Ajtebi elected to maintain the rail route instead of angling outside of Gloria. He did this because he had an eerily similar trip in the Maktoum Challenge Round 3 prep, where his run was stalled on the inside. Split second decision cost him a few million...still a very talented rider.


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