Phoenix Thoroughbreds broke new ground in their fledgeling history on Saturday as Al Battar delivered their first victory in Dubai.
Despite a near 100 winners around the globe the Dubai-based owners had yet to experience a “home” victory but that all changed thanks to the Salem bin Ghadayer trained colt landing the spoils in the one-mile turf maiden at Meydan.
A well-bred son of Dubawi, Al Battar had two starts in the UK, showing great promise latterly with a second at Windsor, before making his debut in the UAE. The change of scenery seems to have brought more improvement out of the four-year-old as he showed a great turn of foot to run out a winner by just shy of a length.
Slightly slow from the gate jockey Mickael Barzalona allowed the UAE debutante to settle in midfield in the early stages. Travelling well throughout the partnership found themselves briefly behind a wall of horses at the top of the stretch. Unpanicked, Barzalona waited for a gap on his outside. Once pulled out and with clear turf in front of him, Al Battar picked up well to create a very favourable impression.
“It didn’t exactly go all to plan,” explained Barzalona post-race. “We would like to have got a better position, but he didn’t break very fast. I had to ride him a different way but in the end, he still won so we’re happy with that.
“He gave me the feeling he was a little bit rusty and needed the race, so I’m very happy with that (performance) and I’m sure he’ll come on a lot for that.”
Half an hour later Phoenix Ladies added to their prize money haul in at Meydan with Mambo Mischief running a very creditable third under Connor Beasley. After a very promising debut, the Ahmad bin Harmash trainee was disappointing on his next run but bounced back to form with a promising display.