Another triumphant raid for O'Brien
Whatever differences may persist between them elsewhere, on Dubai World Cup night at least Coolmore and the Maktoums seem to have become best of enemies. Since finding the prize-money at Meydan too lavish to resist, three years ago, his patrons have sent Aidan O'Brien to the homeland of their traditional antagonists with decorous compliments and sharp racehorses.
The Ballydoyle trainer's only reverse in three runnings of the UAE Derby – the world's most valuable prize for three-year-olds – remains a photo-finish verdict against Master Of Hounds in 2011. On Saturday Lines Of Battle emulated Daddy Long Legs last year, having alertly tracked a slow early pace under Ryan Moore. Though things did not work out for this colt at the Breeders' Cup last autumn, on turf, Lines Of Battle will return across the Atlantic for a crack at the Kentucky Derby.
O'Brien also saddled St Nicholas Abbey to make amends for an unlucky defeat last year in the Sheema Classic, again ridden by his son, Joseph. Now six, St Nicholas Abbey becomes his trainer's all-time highest earner, having also won a Breeders' Cup Turf in amassing £4.75m in prize-money.
Imperial Monarch, however, may not have seen out the longer trip when well beaten behind Cavalryman over two miles. The winning jockey, Silvestre de Sousa, completed his biggest payday since joining Godolphin – and a double for Saeed bin Suroor – when landing the Dubai Duty Free Stakes on Sajjhaa.
Mike de Kock crowned another prolific Carnival with Shea Shea and Soft Falling Rain. Both these stellar advertisements for South African breeding proceed to Royal Ascot.
The shift in tempo was reiterated at Saint-Cloud yesterday when André Fabre saddled Ocovango to earn a 20-1 Derby quote from Coral, smoothly adding to a debut success over the same track last autumn. The jumpers get their final fling at Aintree this week and punters can restore their bearings today in the Ladbrokes Irish National, where Sweeney Tunes looks sure to go well for Davy Russell.
CHRIS MCGRATH'S NAP: Big Johnny D (4.30 Redcar)
Remains the one to beat even without taking into account possible improvement for his new yard.
NEXT BEST: Boucher Garcon (5.0 Redcar)
Back down to a fair mark after losing his way last year, so worth chancing now that he is fresh again.
ONE TO WATCH: Lupin Pooter (David Barron) hit a plateau last summer but remains lightly raced.
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