03/29/2014 1:55PM

Dubai World Cup: African Story scores first Group 1 victory

Dubai Racing Club photo
African Story and jockey Silvestre de Sousa win the $10 million Dubai World Cup by 2 3/4 lengths Saturday.

African Story, fifth in the 2013 Dubai World Cup and winless for more than a year, won his first Group 1 race with a career-best performance in Saturday’s $10 million Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates.

The 7-year-old gelding was the beneficiary of a patient ride from jockey Silvestre de Sousa to win the world’s richest race by 2 3/4 lengths.

African Story gave owner Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing a record sixth win in the Dubai World Cup in the 19-year history of the race, and its first since Monterroso in 2012. For trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, African Story was a record sixth Dubai World Cup win, and his first since Electrocutionist in 2006.

De Sousa, who has risen in prominence as a stable jockey for Godolphin in Europe and Dubai in recent years, won his first Dubai World Cup on African Story.

African Story raced behind pacesetter Mukhadram for the first mile of the 1 1/4-mile race. De Sousa guided African Story to the outside of Mukhadram in the stretch and did not face a challenge after taking the lead in the final furlong.

Mukhadram held second in the field of 16, finishing 4 1/4 lengths in front of Cat O’Mountain.  Side Glance was fourth, followed by Akeed Mofeed, Red Cadeaux, Sanshaawes, Vancouverite, Prince Bishop, Military Attack, Belshazzar, Ron the Greek, Ruler of The World, Hillstar, Surfer, and Hokko Tarumae.

Ron the Greek won the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park last October and is now based in Saudi Arabia. Ruler of The World won the English Derby last June.

African Story paid $36.80 to win through the pari-mutuel system and was 12-1 with British bookmakers. Mukhadram was a 30-1 outsider in the pari-mutuel system. Cat O’Mountain was 35-1.

Mukhadram set his own pace, leading by about a length over stalkers African Story, Hokko Tarumae, and Ruler of The World. Turning for home, the Dubai World Cup was essentially a two-horse race. African Story was timed in 2:01.61 on the Tapeta Footings synthetic surface.

African Story is by Pivotal and was bred in England by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stud. The gelding has won 7 of 18 starts and earned $7,426,079.

Prior to Saturday’s Dubai World Cup, African Story’s most prestigious win was the $1 million Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup undercard in 2012. Last year, African Story won the Group 3 Burj Nahaar over a mile at Meydan in early March but was beaten seven lengths by Animal Kingdom in the Dubai World Cup later that month.

With the exception of a sixth-place finish in the BMW Champions Mile on turf in May 2012, African Story has raced exclusively at Meydan since the start of 2012. He raced in France at the start of his career in 2010 and 2011 and was second in the Group 3 Prix de la Porte Maillot over seven furlongs on turf at Longchamp in Paris in July 2011.