$10MILLION DUBAI WORLD CUP (Group 1)
Meydan, Dirt, 2000m
28 March 2015
Prince Bishop (Ire) (Dubawi), who competed Saturday at Meydan in the new racing colours of Sheikh Mohammed's son, Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, became the oldest winner of the Dubai World Cup aged eight.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor couldn't hide the disappointment on his face when Prince Bishop drew the rail at Wednesday's post position draw for the G1 Dubai World Cup, and for good reason: the 8-year-old gelding had displayed a distaste for the kickback in his two prior starts at this year's carnival, dropping back to a distant last early each time before re-rallying to finish second in both efforts.
An inside draw would give the chestnut little chance to escape the dirt in his face, and as expected, Prince Bishop once again dropped right out of it yesterday, detaching himself from the field before they reached the first turn and forcing jockey William Buick to go to the whip and a vigorous ride early.
Meanwhile up front, Japanese dirt star Hokko Tarumae (Jpn) (King Kamehameha) held a slight advantage over Prince Bishop's stablemate, defending race winner African Story (GB) (Pivotal), into the first turn, while California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) was held four-wide and Lea (First Samurai) enjoyed a ground-saving trip off the heels of the leaders.
There was little change to that order as the field moved down the backstretch, and Prince Bishop began to make up ground while racing wide to avoid the kickback. With the two front runners already under rides as the field rounded the turn, it appeared as if the lead was for California Chrome's taking at the top of the lane.
Looming up on the Horse of the Year's outside at the quarter pole, however, was Prince Bishop, and California Chrome never got his head in front. Prince Bishop wrangled the lead from a tiring Hokko Tarumae at the top of the lane, with California Chrome between them, and quickly surged clear. Lea was forced to switch off the fence for daylight, but appeared one-paced as he crossed the line behind Prince Bishop and California Chrome.
"I don't go numb very often but I can't explain what I'm feeling right now,"said jockey William Buick. "Saeed Bin Suroor and the whole team had a lot of faith in him going into the race today." Buick added, "He has a very unorthodox way of racing so I took him out of the kickback in the back and when I got onto California Chrome's tail, he picked up the bridle and ran on well in the end. He likes the surface now that he has the experience. He is better than he was. This is just nuts."
Prince Bishop has this year competed at his fifth Meydan carnival. He was a dual Group winner in France at three while under the care of Andre Fabre, most notably besting Cirrus des Aigles (Fr) (Even Top) in the G2 Prix du Conseil de Paris in October 2010. Transferred to Bin Suroor for the following year's carnival, Prince Bishop took some time to find his feet for his new conditioner and while he went winless that year in Dubai - he checked in 10th behind Victoire Pisa (Jpn) (Neo Universe) in the Dubai World Cup - he took out Kempton's Listed Floodlit Stakes that November. Prince Bishop's lone score in 2012 was a handicap win at Meydan over this distance, and he didn't fare much better in that year's Dubai World Cup, finishing seventh behind Monterosso (GB) (Dubawi).
The chestnut did travel back to England that summer and showed a bit more spark at the following year's carnival, finishing third in Rounds 2 and 3 of the Maktoum Challenge - Group 2 and 1, respectively - and he came back to win both those events last season before checking in ninth in the Dubai World Cup behind African Story. Prince Bishop returned to Britain to win the G3 September Stakes for the second year running last autumn, but appeared to dislike the dirt in this year's Rounds 2 and 3 of the Maktoum Challenge. As per Saturday's race, he dropped way out of it in both those races but came charging late to be second.
It was the seventh win in the world's richest race for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who remarked, "It's a great result. I knew the horse had the class to win this race. Some horses improve with age, and it's great to see him win. This is great for me and for everybody here."
Speaking to reporters after the race, Sheikh Mohammed said, "We are very happy. This was a pleasant surprise."
Prince Bishop is out of North East Bay, a half-sister to GII San Antonio Handicap winner Blingo (Red Ransom) and stakes winner Hold To Ransom (Red Ransom), the dam of Australian group winner Retrieve (Aus) (Rahy). Prince Bishop becomes the second Dubai World Cup winner for his sire and was the second winner by Dubawi on the card after Mubtaahij (Ire) took the G2 UAE Derby.
Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News