02/10/2011 1:45PM

Splash Point turns the tables on Zanzamar in UAE 2000 Guineas


Zanzamar was an unlucky runner-up in the Group 3, $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan on Thursday night as Splash Point took advantage of his rival’s trouble in escaping with a one-length victory.

It had been a different story three weeks ago when Zanzamar had beaten Splash Point into second in the seven-furlong UAE 2000 Guineas Trial. The Mike de Kock-trained Zanzamar got himself a clear run on the outside that day but this time he and rider Richard Hills found themselves behind a wall of horses in midstretch. It was the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Splash Point, a Kentucky-bred son of Street Cry, who charged down the outside this time as Hills had to angle Zanzamar down to the rail before getting up for second, three-quarters of a length in front of Krypton Factor. Ridden by Mickael Barzalona and carrying the colors of Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Splash Point covered the mile over the Tapeta main track in 1:37.73.

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Godolphin’s Belmont maiden winner Buffum led at the quarter pole but faded to fifth while Argentine juvenile champion Paulinho never got involved in finishing seventh. The rubber match between Splash Point and Zanzamar will come on March 26 in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby.

Skysurfers got the best of Musir in a hot renewal of the listed $175,000 Firebreak Stakes going a mile on Tapeta. An impressive 3 1/4-length winner over Eagle Mountain in an allowance race at the same distance on this course a year ago, the Godolphni-owned Skysurfers rallied wide to lead approaching the eighth pole and held off Musir by 1 1/2 lengths with Frankie Dettori not having to resort to the whip.

Skysurfers had failed six times since his last score, the last four in listed turf races in England, but must now be considered a leading candidate for the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup Night. Trained by Mike de Kock, Musir was making his first start since winning the UAE Derby in March, and was not given a hard time of it by Christophe Soumillon, who conceded the issue about 70 yards from the line. The winning time for the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Skysurfers was 1:35.77, nearly two seconds faster than it took the 3-year-olds in the Guineas.

Musir’s de Kock-trained stablemate Imbongi was along for third, 5 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up with Bankable fourth. Gayego, absent since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, showed nothing in coming home ninth of 12, beaten 17 3/4 lengths in all.

In the finale, Soumillon completed a four-timer as he guided last year’s UAE Oaks winner Raihana to victory in a 1 1/8-mile turf handicap, giving trainer de Kock his third win of the night.