Meydan: Nashmiah bursts Really Special bubble in UAE 1,000 Guineas shock
Mickael Barzalona: rode Saudi Arabian winner of the UAE 1,000 Guineas at Meydan on Thursday
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos) Nashmiah bursts Really Special bubble in UAE 1,000 Guineas shock By Jason Ford 8:34PM 9 FEB 2017
The Saudi Arabian-trained Nashmiah caused an upset in the UAE 1,000 Guineas with a 40-1 victory over two other long-priced runners, with Godolphin's odds-on favourite Really Special only fifth.
The Listed mile contest on dirt was run at a scorching gallop and few of the 11 runners managed to get involved. Really Special appeared to take a bump as the gates opened and never really recovered.
Nashmiah, ridden by Mickael Barzalona for trainer Nicholas Bachalard, was never far off the pace and led just after halfway. They looked in trouble at the top of the straight but the jockey revealed he gave his mount a breather.
Barzalona said: "She has won all three of her starts in Saudi Arabia and I rode her last time when she impressed me with her toughness. I was able to allow her to get a breather at an important stage and then she really fought hard.
"This was a big step up in class but she has done that very bravely. It is a great result for the whole team and for Saudi Arabian racing and breeding as she was bred in the Kingdom."
Nashmiah won by a head from 66-1 shot Nomorerichblondes, with Rajah third at 33-1.
Top Score fights back
Another upset looked possible in the 7f Meydan Classic Trial, a turf race for three-year-olds, when debutant Nobelium, a 66-1 shot, hit the front a furlong out ahead of favourite Top Score.
However, the Rashed Bouresly-trained colt's lack of experience perhaps caught him out close home and Godolphin's Top Score fought back to regain the lead in the dying strides.
Ridden by Adrie de Vries for Saeed Bin Suroor, Top Score looked all over the winner as the field turned into the straight and hit the front, seemingly cantering, two furlongs out.
Momentum then appeared to be with Nobelium when he loomed large under Bruno Reis a furlong out before another swing late on in Top Score's favour.
De Vries said: "I thought we were beaten when the other horse went past but my mount fought back gamely. We had a bad draw last time on dirt and I wouldn't blame the surface for that defeat.
"I think he went on the dirt but I'd guess he'll stay on turf for the Meydan Classic now."
Alabaster stays well to claim victory
It was an almost identical scenario in the following 1m2f dirt handicap in which Godolphin's Alabaster, who went to the front effortlessly early in the straight, was headed a furlong out by Etijaah.
Also trained by Bin Suroor, but ridden by Oisin Murphy, Alabaster fought back valiantly to regain the initiative in the dying strides.
Etijaah, the mount of Jim Crowley, was joined on the line by Emotionless, also owned by Godolphin but trained by Charlie Appleby, in a dead-heat for second.
Murphy said: "I rode him last time over a mile and knew this trip would suit him. I think he'll stay further and he has shown a great attitude to win here."
De Vries finds key to Krypton Factor
The Fawzi Nass-trained Krypton Factor took the 6f turf handicap, completing a double for jockey Adrie de Vries.
The nine-year-old was winning for just the third time since his Group 1 Golden Shaheen victory on the old Tapeta surface at Meydan in 2012.
De Vries said: "A lot of the key to him is to let him think he's in charge and that's what I tried to do. It's great to see him win again for Fawzi, who is a very good trainer and friend."
They were chased home by Ireland's Jamesie, himself just ahead of British raiders Sir Maximilian, Watchable, Naadirr and Line Of Reason.
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