02/16/2012 4:10PM

Dubai: Viscount Nelson rallies to win Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan


Master of Hounds ran okay, but it was another Mike de Kock-trained horse, Viscount Nelson, who won the Group 2, $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort on Thursday night at Meydan in Dubai.

Racing near the back of the pack under longtime de Kock associate Kevin Shea, Viscount Nelson moved up smartly between horses as the field turned into the homestretch of the one-mile grass race. With luck on their side, Shea and Viscount Nelson continued their rally unimpeded through the straightaway, getting up in the final half-furlong to beat Albaasil by a half-length.

Master of Hounds was running back just a week after a third-place finish in the Maktoum Challenge Round 2, de Kock saying a couple days ago that his World Cup hopeful was a big, heavy horse who needed more work. Racing at a distance well short of his best, Master of Hounds turned in a solid performance, sticking close to the leaders while racing along the inside and finishing with decent energy under Christophe Soumillon to wrest third from Derbaas.

Just like Master of Hounds, Viscount Nelson was purchased by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoun from the Coolmore operation last year. The 5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway has kept good company, but won at the group stakes level for the first time Thursday. Viscount Nelson made a start in the United States last year, finishing eighth in the Manhattan Handicap while still trained by Aidan O’Brien.

Godolphin’s Rio de la Plata, favored in U.S. betting, disappointed in the Al Fahidi Fort, finishing seventh, but earlier on the program their classy older miler, Delegator, won the Range Rover Evoque Trophy by three-quarters of a length.

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