North America earns crack at Dubai World Cup by overcoming Snow problem

Richard Mullen

North America emerged a serious threat to the horses that currently head the Dubai World Cup market when he foiled old foe Thunder Snow in the Group One Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan.

Beaten a neck by the latter in a Group Two last month after getting into a speed duel, Richard Mullen's mount reversed the placings and, in the process, set a new mile-and-a-quarter track record.

Trainer Satish Seemar said: "It all went to plan. We wanted to test him and he will definitely go for the World Cup."

Charlie Appleby secured three winners on the card, topped off by Hawkbill in the Group Two Dubai City Of Gold.

As track records tumbled, William Buick's mount responded gamely to resist stablemate Frontiersman by a head to make it a Godolphin one-two.

Appleby said: "I was very happy with Hawkbill's preparation off a break and it was a really good performance.

"They were the two class horses and I was also pleased with Frontiersman who fought all the way to the line.

"Hawkbill didn't get things his way in the race itself, but his class saw him through.

"All being well he will head for the Sheema, but with Frontiersman it's in the back of my mind to consider stepping him up in trip for the Gold Cup, a decision about which will be taken after I've spoken with Sheikh Mohammed."

Blair House benefited from a poker-cool ride from James Doyle to take a couple of late gaps and run out a decisive winner of the Group One Jebel Hatta.

Appleby. "He's gained in confidence and the person that rode him in his last bit of work said he was spot on.

"We thought he would run a big raceand it fell into his hands under a great ride by James."

Appleby said that, if invited, Blair House would return in three weeks for the Dubai Turf.

Yulong Warrior has the progressive look of a horse that could do well on World Cup night and the Seemar-trained colt took full advantage of his favourable draw to make all in the Al Bastikaya undre Mullen.

The trainer said: "From his draw he had the fence and the cheekpieces just sharpened him up.

"After that he will come back for the UAE Derby and he should enjoy another step up in trip in that."

The odds-on favourite Masar proved disappointing. He had to be urged to get into contention round the first bend but went backwards in the straight, showing that he was clearly ill at ease on the dirt surface.

The Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint saw another minor upset as the Appleby-trained Jungle Cat mowed down even-money favourite Ertijaal.

"He showed his versatility and his class and will head for World Cup night," said the Godolphin trainer.

The ability to lead, seen as a vital factor throughout the night, was again evident in Jordan Sport's triumph in the Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal.

Heavy Metal was regarded as many people's banker of the night in the Group Three Burj Nahaar, but Kimbear was a persistent force and pulled a length and a quarter clear for Doug Watson and Pat Dobson.

Heavy Metal tired badly and in the end was also passed by Secret Ambition and Musawaat.