03/09/2013 1:08PM

Dubai: Bin Suroor soars, Dullahan and Little Mike flop on Super Saturday card


Godolphin has two primary trainers in Dubai, many of the operation’s top horses stabled with Mahmood al Zarooni, who came out of an assistant’s role in Saeed bin Suroor’s barn to become a head trainer in 2010. But the Super Saturday card Saturday night at Meydan belonged to the veteran bin Suroor, who captured four of the seven Thoroughbred stakes, including the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 with Hunter’s Light, and the Group 1 Jebel Hatta with Sajjhaa.

For bin Suroor, Super Saturday was a raging success. For the two United States-based, Dale Romans-trained horses, Dullahan and Little Mike, the night passed with less exultation. In the Group 3, $200,000 Burj Nahaar on the Tapeta surface, Dullahan could only finish 11th, losing for the first time in four synthetic-surface starts. Away slowly from an inside draw under Kieren Fallon, Dullahan crept up the rail within striking distance of the leaders midway through the Burj Nahaar, but eventually sucked back out of the tight spot and had no punch in the stretch, losing by about 12 lengths over a one-mile distance short of his best.

Little Mike, running in the Maktoum Challenge, fared slightly better. He briefly made an early lead under Fallon but was displaced as Daddy Long Legs took up the running. When a seam opened along the rail about a half-mile out Fallon took it, and Little Mike led the field into the stretch, but he, too, came up empty, finishing eighth in his synthetic-surface debut.

Meanwhile, bin Suroor’s Godolphin runners were on point, sweeping the top three spots in the Maktoum Challenge. Five-year-old Hunter’s Light won for the fifth time in his last six races, following up on a strong win in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 with a similarly high-level performance. Ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, Hunter’s Light ($5.60) beat Kassiano by two and three-quarters lengths, with Prince Bishop another neck back in third. Monterosso, the 2012 Dubai World Cup winner, checked in 10th in his first start since June.

Bin Suroor and African Story won the Burj Nahaar for the second year in a row, with African Story ($8.20) returning from a nine-month layoff to post a decisive two and one-quarter length score over Capital Attraction. Even more impressive was the 6-year-old mare Sajjhaa ($16.40), who has hit peak form this winter and won her third straight Group stakes in the Jebel Hatta. Trapped behind City Style in the stretch, Sajjhaa finally found room along the inside and finished with a brilliant burst to overhaul The Apache, winning by three-quarters of a length. South African star mare Igugu disappointed for the second straight race, checking in a flat sixth.

Bin Suroor’s fourth winner came in the $250,000 Al Bastakiya, where Secret Number ($10.40), a once-started 3-year-old maiden winner, overcame a slow start and a wide trip to beat Zahee by two lengths, looking like a major player for the March 30 UAE Derby. Bin Suroor’s other Super Saturday winners also have World Cup Night goals: Hunter’s Light heads to the World Cup, Sajjhaa to the Duty Free, and African Story to the Godolphin Mile.

Jakkalberry conquers City of Gold

The older he gets, the more miles he travels, the better Jakkalberry ($12.20) seems to perform, and on Saturday the globe-trotting 7-year-old added another victory to his r é sum é , outkicking heavily favored Await the Dawn to win the Group 2, $250,000 Dubai City of Gold.

In the last year, Jakkalberry has raced in the Dubai, the United States (where he won the American St. Leger last summer at Arlington), England, Australia, and Japan. This is Jakkalberry’s second winter in Dubai, and while he was a solid third in the 2012 Sheema Classic on the World Cup card, Jakkalberry could be better this year.

“He may be one to look forward to at the end of the month,” said winning rider Ryan Moore.

The City of Gold unfolded at a snail’s pace with Cavalryman leading until Treble Jig flew up to take command with more than a half-mile left in a turf race contested at about one and one-half miles. From there, the tempo quickened significantly, with Cavalryman and Await the Dawn pouncing at the top of the stretch. But Jakkalberry came outside both of them, took the lead about a furlong out and pushed past to record a half-length victory.

Masterstroke, one of the favorites, and third in the 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, acted up in the gate and was scratched.

Jakkalberry, by Storming Home, is owned by a partnership and trained by Marco Botti.

Shea Shea takes turf sprint

Shea Shea ($5.60) ran himself into the favorite’s role for the Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup Night with a flashy victory in the $175,000 Meydan Sprint, a straight-course turf race at about five furlongs. Ridden by Christophe Soumillon for trainer Mike de Kock, Shea Shea finished two and one-half lengths in front of Sole Power, with Russian Soul third, running a course record time of 57.02 seconds.

◗ Reynaldothewizard ($24.20) posted a mild upset in the Group 3, $200,000 Mahab al Shimaal, beating the heavily favored defending champion Krypton Factor by four lengths. Trained by Sateesh Seemar and ridden to victory by Richard Mullen, 7-year-old Reynaldothewizard, who began his career in the U.S. in 2008, scored the most important victory of his career.