March 30, 2013, Dubai Meydan ~ The finish of the 18th edition of the Group 1 PA Dubai Kahayla Classic set the tone for Dubai World Cup night after Al Mamun Monlau produced a fabulous turn of foot to catch Versac PY as they went past the finish post.
Only a short head separated the Jean-François Bernard-trained winner from Versac PY, while last year’s winner TM Fred Texas finished a further 2 ¾ lengths back in third.
“I knew he was going well when they were coming round the bend,” said Jean-François Bernard.
“Christophe Soumillon was holding on to him, but he was pulling, trying to go to the front.”
Christophe Soumillon knows how to ride a winner at Meydan, but he still had to wait a few anxious moments before his victory was confirmed. For Paul Hanagan, who must have thought that he had the race in his pocket after the Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Versac PY took an easy lead in the final 400 metres, being runner-up was obviously a bit of a disappointment.
“He ran a great race and he did everything right and we just got nailed at the end,” he said.
Areem and his jockey Ahmad Ajtebi had set a fierce pace in the early stages of the 2000-metre race and at one point had a five-lengths lead on Sahib Du Clos and Rich Frynchman. Versac PY and Al Mamun Monlau were travelling in mid-field at that point, but as soon as they entered the final straight, the order rapidly changed. Versac PY took the lead, but Al Mamun Monlau finished very strongly on his outside to secure victory in the final stride. Owned by Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, following TM Fred Texas’ success last year, this was another winner for Qatar.
Christophe Soumillon said: “It was a perfect race for me. At first I followed the favourite but when I saw that he wasn’t travelling well I went inside and followed Sheikh Hamdan’s horse. When he went clear in the home straight I switched between horses to chase him and I could feel my horse taking a deep breath. He had a lot of ground to make up but in the end he was very genuine to catch the leader in the last stride.”
The five-year-old Al Mamun Monlau has not always been an easy horse to train and had an issue with entering the stalls in the early stages of his career, but he was the example of calm today.
His trainer said: “He liked it here from the day he arrived. He had a lot of speed left halfway round the turn and I thought he would win. Christophe rode a great race and I’m very happy.”
Full Results: [gview file=”http://www.horsereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Results-KahalaC.pdf” save=”1″]