01/22/2015 4:46PM

Safety Check captures Al Fahidi Fort

Email
Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins
The 4-year-old Safety Check, with William Buick aboard, scores a four-length victory in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort.

Safety Check did not pan out during the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival as a 3-year-old hope for the all-weather UAE Derby, a race in which he finished 10th, but things are rolling along much more smoothly for Safety Check on the Meydan turf course this winter. A sharp winner of a turf handicap on Jan. 8, Safety Check improved on that form Thursday and won the Group 2, $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort by four lengths.

The win makes Safety Check a candidate for the Feb. 26 Zabeel Mile at Meydan, according to Charlie Appleby, who trains Safety Check for Godolphin. William Buick was aboard the winner Thursday.

Stalking a moderate pace while well in hand, Safety Check burst to the front at the top of the homestretch and went unchallenged the last quarter-mile. Eastern Rules finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of Zahee. The race’s 2014 winner, Anaerobio, was next home in fourth, while well-regarded South African sprinter-miler Red Ray faded to seventh after tracking the leader from second.

A 4-year-old by Dubawi, Safety Check won for the seventh time in 19 races, and he looks especially comfortable racing over the good-to-firm course at Meydan, a departure from the softer tracks in England, where he has been based when not stationed in Dubai.

In other Thursday races:

Trainer Mike de Kock ran 3-4-7 with his trio in the Al Fahidi Fort, but while Red Ray was somewhat disappointing, another South African horse making his first run in Dubai, Umgiyo, put in a strong run from behind a quick pace to win race 4, a handicap over about nine furlongs on grass. An Australian-bred by Danehill Dancer, Umgiyo clearly has adapted well to Dubai and may still have upside this winter.