Walking Thunder took his tally to three from three after he impressively overcame a wide draw to win the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan on Thursday, putting himself and his owners, Phoenix Ladies Syndicate, at the forefront of the Emirates Classic picture.
Drawn 13 of 13 jockey Connor Beasley produced an expert ride to break well from the gates and allow the colt to slowly make his way over to the rail. As is his way, the son of top US stallion Violence, looked to be traveling a little too keenly but having sat one of the pace throughout he looked to be full of running as the field turned for home. It wasn’t long before the Ahmad bin Harmash trained colt was pulling clear in-front of the cheering Grandstand to win by an increasing nine lengths.
“From a wide draw, I just thought I would let him jump and, instead of fighting, let him breathe and find his feet.” Explained Beasley as he looked back on the ride. “He did that really well today and he travelled very easily. He is a real professional in his mannerisms; the way he goes to start—just everything. To me, he feels like a good horse. When the draw came out, I was a bit disappointed, but in hindsight, it worked out really well. I’ve let him get into stride and I had no kickback in his face; not that he minds kickback. He had a smooth passage throughout and I think that was probably key.”
The three-year-old was a $42,000 purchase from the Ocala April sale for the newly formed all-female syndicate and he has been impressing his trainer from the start and could be heading towards some big targets.
“He’s a very good horse”. said bin Harmash post race. “We are trying to get to the UAE Derby with him. He’s doing very well and has trained very well. He ran a great race. We weren’t worried about the draw as he’s a horse who runs fast from the gate and it didn’t scare us that much. It looks like he can travel the Derby distance. Congratulations to this new group of owners.”
Those sentiments were echoed by his rider with Beasley adding. “Off that, I’d dare say he can stay. Obviously it was a bit of a question mark these two runs previous. Today he settled a lot better just having a bit more of a rein. I’d say…he never stopped, and I couldn’t pull him up after the line.”
It’s an exciting time for the members of Phoenix Ladies, who were set up with the aim to encourage more female participation in the UAE and beyond. Pamela Cordina, the group’s principle is currently out in Australia at the Magic Millions old Coast Yearling sale looking to expand the Syndicate into a new territory.
“That was an amazing performance.” She reacted having watched the race in the early hours. “We thought he’s run a big race but that was beyond our wildest dreams. Ahmad has always been keen on him and he’s done a great job getting him to run as he has. I also thought Connor gave him a superb ride from that draw. We’ll sit down now with everyone involved and talk about the path he should take now. We’re just very pleased to have a horse like him.”
If you’d like to come on this journey with Phoenix Ladies please mark an email for Pamela’s attention and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.