02/11/2010 12:00AM

War Artist upsets Gayego in Dubai


War Artist took advantage of a troubled trip suffered by Gayego to make off with the Grade 3, $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint at Meydan in Dubai on Thursday night. In his first start on a synthetic track, the James Eustace-trained War Artist quickened away from the field under Olivier Peslier to defeat Gayego by 2 3/4 lengths, traveling the six furlongs in 1:10.74 in what amounts to a track record on Meydan's fourth day of racing this winter.

With the scratch of South African Group 1 winner Our Giant, Gayego was forced to start on the rail, from where he lagged behind early. Wheeled wide by Frankie Dettori turning for home, Gayego was met with a wall of horseflesh that he couldn't manage to penetrate until it was too late. He came home 1 1/2 lengths in front of his third-place Godolphin stablemate El Cambio.

The winner of the Group 2 Goldene Peitsche at Baden-Baden and the Group 3 Prix du Petit Couvert at Longchamp last summer, War Artist had not run since finishing 12th in the Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 13 when California Flag was fifth and Cannonball 10th. An Australian-bred son of Orpen, he will be switched back to turf for the Al Quoz Sprint on March 27.

Mendip proved the best of three Godolphin Triple Crown nominees in a Tapeta allowance as he was ridden out by Frankie Dettori to a half-length victory over the fast closing Uncle Tom. Mendip tracked the pace in third or fourth and led just inside the eighth pole. He got the seven furlongs in 1:24.59, the fastest time recorded in seven races run at the distance on the new Meydan track. Mendip had won his only previous start when taking a one-mile maiden on the Kempton Polytrack by 2 1/4 lengths on Sept. 4. The other two Godolphin Triple Crown nominees disappointed. Cappiwino, a 10 1/4-length Laurel maiden winner, finished 10th, while Fareej, 2 for 2 last year on turf and Polytrack in England, was last of 14.

Ahmed Ajtebi dropped Godolphin's Siyaadah out of the clouds to win the listed $250,000 UAE 1000 Guineas. Raihana, the Mike de Kock-trained winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial two weeks ago, looked home free for a moment in deep stretch, but Siyaadah, still 10th at the eighth pole, came charging to defeat Ayun Tara by a length with Berg Bahn third. Raihana faded to fourth, beaten two lengths. The time for the mile was 1:37.21. A daughter of French Derby winner Shamardal, Siyaadah will go next in the 1 3/16-mile UAE Oaks on Feb. 25.

Five European group race winners lined up for a $175,000 turf handicap at 1 1/2 miles, 90 yards, and it was Halicarnassus who emerged victorious. He outgamed Mourilyan by a short head with Quijano third, a length farther back and Claremont fourth, another half-length back. The winning time for Halicarnassus was 2:44.49 on good to firm ground.