03/04/2010 1:00AM

Vale of York outshined by stablemate Mendip


Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Vale of York failed in his return to the races at Meydan on Thursday night as he faded to fifth in the listed $250,000 Al Bastakiya, a course and distance prep for the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby. Vale of York's owner, Godolphin, was bailed out, however, by the brilliant performance of Mendip, who cruised to an impressive 6 1/4-length victory.

Pulling in sixth place behind the painfully slow pace of UAE 2000 Guineas third-place finisher Della Barba, Vale of York was ridden into third approaching the head of the stretch but came up empty off his four-month layoff, winding up 7 1/4 lengths behind his victorious stablemate.

Mendip, who had tracked the early pace in second, led more than two furlongs from home, quickened impressively under Frankie Dettori, and galloped home an easy winner over Della Barba with his Argentine-bred stablemate Enak third, a neck farther back. Thanks to the crawling early pace, the time was a slow 1:59.42.

Vale of York will return on March 27 for the UAE Derby, as will Mendip, whom Dettori described as "improving all the time." A son of Harlan's Holiday who is nominated to both the Triple Crown and the 2000 Guineas, Mendip is now 3 for 3, having taken a one-mile Kempton maiden and a seven-furlong Meydan allowance, both on synthetic surfaces, in his two previous outings.

Super Thursday, as Dubai World Cup preview night is known officially, included course and distance preps for six of the seven big races on World Cup Night. In the World Cup trial itself, the Group 2, $300,000 Maktoum Challenge, the 4-year-old filly Red Desire came from out of the clouds to give Japan a thrilling victory.

Third in the Japan Cup, Red Desire was 13th of 14 at the quarter pole but still got up in time under a perfectly timed ride by Olivier Peslier to nip the game pacesetter Gloria de Campeao by a neck, clocking 2:02.62 for the 1 1/4 miles. The outsider Mr Brock was third with the Godolphin-owned Allybar fourth, a length behind the winner. Arc third-place finisher Cavalryman was seventh with Japan Cup winner Vodka eighth, beaten 4 1/4 lengths. Winning trainer Mikio Matsunaga must now choose between the World Cup and the Dubai Sheema Classic for Red Desire.

* Ryan Moore pulled Presvis off the rail to get up late to win the Group 2, $250,000 Jebel Hatta, a 1 1/8-mile prep for the Dubai Duty Free, by 1 1/2 lengths. The winning time on good to firm ground was 1:52.93.

* Desert Party put in an outstanding performance for Godolphin to win the Group 3, $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal, a six-furlong trial for the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Sidelined since finishing 14th in the Kentucky Derby, Desert Party reveled in his first try on a synthetic surface. The winner of last year's UAE 2000 Guineas on the Nad Al Sheba dirt and Saratoga's Sanford Stakes as a

2-year-old, Desert Party rallied from sixth under Dettori to lead at the quarter pole for a 1 1/4-length victory over Mutheeb. Odds-on favorite War Artist, recent winner of the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint, was fifth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths. The winning time was a quick 1:10.82.

* In the Group 2, $250,000 Dubai City of Gold, a 1 1/2-mile turf prep for the Dubai Sheema Classic, the Godolphin-owned Campanologist was all out under Dettori to hold off Pan River by a neck. A Group 2 winner at the distance in England, the 5-year-old Campanologist was timed in 2:37.36 as Golden Sword finished third with Quijano seventh.

* The highly impressive winner of a Southwell maiden and a Meydan allowance in his first two starts for Godolphin, Skysurfers saw his bubble burst in the Group 3, $200,000 Burj Nahar as he plodded home a one-paced fifth behind the front-running Cat Junior. A Brian Meehan-trained son of Storm Cat who was 13th in last year's Godolphin Mile, Cat Junior will try that race again on March 27. In the Burj Nahar, he prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths over Green Coast, getting the mile on Tapeta in 1:35.95.