04/12/2002 11:00PM

Imperial Gesture rules


Imperial Gesture, ridden by Frankie Dettori led a Godolphin clean sweep in the UAE Oaks at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday evening, and will now head for an American campaign.

The runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last year, Imperial Gesture was expected by her connections to take this $150,000 event, despite her Breeders' Cup conqueror and stablemate, Tempera, also being in the field.

Imperial Gesture set the pace throughout and quickened clear in the final two furlongs to register an easy 3 1/4-length victory.

Under David Flores, Tempera made up ground from the rear to catch the third Godolphin runner, Seba, for second. The trio was well clear of the other two runners, E B's Sweep and Hot Dinar.

Speaking after the race, Dettori said, "She's a very talented filly who has improved a lot physically. She was my best ride of the week and the reason that I stayed in Dubai rather than going to Britain. On her form last year, she had the scope to improve, and I think she's done that."

A Godolphin spokesman said that Imperial Gesture will race in America this season but stopped short of naming a specific target. The May 3 Kentucky Oaks, however, likely figures highly in plans for both Imperial Gesture and Tempera.

Japan: All Gong badly beaten

All Gong, ridden by Blythe Miller, finished 11th in the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan on Saturday, beaten 40 lengths behind the winner, the Australian challenger St Steven. All Gong, an American jumper trained by Bruce Miller, was a 28-1 chance in the local betting and was far back throughout.

The 8-year-old All Gong had difficulty in adapting to the Japanese-style fences. Though of quite demanding height, they are not very stiff, and horses are able to brush through the top of them.

This suited the Australian and Japanese horses, who also relished the fast ground. St Steven, horse of the year over jumps in Australia, also set a new course record.

The runner-up was Gokai, the Japanese trained horse who had won the previous two runnings of this event, but had no answer to the impressive 1 1/2-length winner on this occasion.

Blythe Miller, speaking after the race, said about All Gong, "The horse was jumping too high and used up too much energy."