Capezzano Smokes Them In G3 Firebreak, Magic Lily Lands G2 Balanchine

14 Feb 2020 09:48


Thursday’s seventh night of the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival was sponsored by pillar partner Gulf News and saw breakout performances throughout the evening. The features of the evening were the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes on dirt over 1600m and the Group 2 Balanchine over 1800m on turf.

The $200,000 Firebreak Stakes (G3) was made marginally less exciting when race favourite Muntazah scratched earlier in the day, but fireworks were still in order with the resurfacing of beaten Dubai World Cup favourite Capezzano returning in a big way, putting his foes to bed with a seven-length gate-to-wire victory under Mickael Barzalona and showing why he is officially rated 117.

The Sultan Ali-owned son of Bernardini won for the fourth time over the 1600m distance at Meydan, including three handicaps over the previous two DWC Carnivals, and improved his record to six wins from 16 starts. He carved out 400m fractions of 24.96, 47.76 and 1:11.91 en route to finishing up in a stakes record 1:36.23 and winning by seven lengths. Dubai Creek Mile (Listed) winner Secret Ambition overcame a poor break to finish second, three-quarters of a length to the good of Capezzano’s stablemate Matterhorn. Ambassadorial, Quip, Fight On, Walking Thunder and Thegreatcollection completed the order of finish.

Winner of last year’s Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 over Thunder Snow, Capezzano was last seen finishing last of 12 in Meydan’s biggest event, but has multiple massive events on his radar in 2020. In addition to redemption in the Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) on March 28, he is taking aim on the Saudi Cup on Feb. 29 for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer.

“We expected a big run from and it was good for him to see the track before the big races,” Barzalona said. “He ran a big race and should have plenty left in the tank. We are pretty happy with the way he is handling it before the race. He keeps improving. I’m pretty sure this will give him a lot of confidence. Now he will fly over there (to Saudi Arabia) and the track will suit him over there, as well. Hopefully he runs a big race. I’m very pleased with the way Capezzano ran today.

“Always his first time out, he doesn’t perform (well), but we saved him this year since we heard about the Saudi race and for (Dubai) World Cup,” Bin Ghadayer added. “We believe in this horse and his ability. We wanted to wait until this race. I know it’s just two weeks until the Saudi Cup, but we needed the race for his confidence and thank God he performed well. He showed his ability. We will go to the Saudi race and then (Dubai) World Cup night.”

The Group 2 $250,000 Balanchine, like the past two years, was won by the Cape Verdi (G2) winner, as Godolphin’s Magic Lily continued her ascension for trainer Charlie Appleby. Relaxing behind the pace-setting Maamora and always keeping chief rival—and Cape Verdi runner-up—Nisreen within eye-shot, the daughter of New Approach and dual Oaks winner Dancing Rain overtook the formerbefore holding off the latter by 1¼ lengths. Finishing up the 1800m in a stakes record 1:47.65, the emblazoned chestnut may have possibly stamped her ticket to face the boys on Super Saturday over the same nine-furlong trip.

“She was always going to appreciate the extra furlong in trip,” Buick said. “She came on from the Cape Verdi and I thought that was a good performance today. In typical fashion, she hit the front in the straight and just grinds it out. She travels well and wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a good fighter.”

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