Hong Kong pair go close, but Shea Shea snares US$1m Al Quoz Sprint
Joy And Fun and Eagle Regiment flirt with a one-two finish in Al Quoz Sprint but Frederick Engels gets a raw deal at the start of Shaheen
For a fleeting moment last night it seemed Hong Kong horses could quinella the US$1 million Al Quoz Sprint, but something special from Mike de Kock's speed machine Shea Shea upstaged gallant pair Joy And Fun and Eagle Regiment - who finished second and third.
When Joy And Fun kicked in front with less then 300 metres to go at the Dubai World Cup meeting, and Eagle Regiment went with him - they looked like fighting out the finish, but lurking behind them was Shea Shea - who peeled off the back of Joy And Fun and broke the track record in a devastating display.
And John Moore's overseas Group One drought continued when Frederick Engels blew his chances at the start of the Golden Shaheen, coming in eighth.
His jockey Weichong Marwing was fuming after the US$2 million race, won by American-bred Reynaldothewizard, claiming the starter let the field go after he had called out to say the horse's feet were off the ground.
"You could clearly see that the horse was up in the air," he said.
"Our starter back home waits - if you ask them to play the tape you can hear me screaming "wait, wait, wait" - the horse was up in the air and has cost himself any chance in the race.
"Once we were back out there we were always in trouble because he was a horse full of running with nowhere to go."
Joy and Fun's jockey Tye Angland exclaimed, "So close," when dismounting the Derek Cruz-trained horse. "He is such a fighter. I jumped as good as any of them, and I really felt like I could win it about 400m to go, but I could see and sense the winner just over my shoulder."
Cruz added: "That winner really looks like something special, he has run 56.41, and we've beaten everybody else. I'm very proud of the horse, and Tye."
Manfred Man Ka-leung's Eagle Regiment had battled injury all week - he seemed certain to be withdrawn with hoof soreness on Monday - and was also disadvantaged by drawing barrier one.
But he proved he more than belonged in elite company - especially in straight races - when he also loomed as a winning hope.
"I just didn't have anything to take me into the race," jockey Olivier Doleuze lamented.
"He was isolated, he had nobody around him and he needed some company from other horses a bit today. But he's a great horse and we will come back.
"What he did today was very good. I wish I'd drawn in the middle of the track because I was alone and he always hangs inside. He ran a good race, but maybe that few days' work he missed made the difference."