Australian bred filly Raihana came up just short of continuing Mike De Kock’s winning run in Dubai on Thursday evening when she was beaten a neck in the G2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan.
Derbaas held off the late challenge of Raihana (Elusive Quality) who went out a heavily backed favourite. Fellow Australian bred galloper Le Drakkar (Anabaa) filled out the placings in the US$250,000 event.
Derbaas (5h Seeking The Gold – Sultana by Storm Cat) was winning his fourth race in a row for Sheikh Hamdan and trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe. He had won an Ascot maiden in July 2008 but had gone another 13 starts before commencing his current winning streak at Meydan in November.
Winning rider Richard Hills was always confident after going to the front in the straight. “We knew he was improving at a rate of knots and he broke the course record last time from two Group 1 winners.
“I was always going well behind the leader and was happy to commit for home as I knew he would run all the way to the line.”
Derbaas is from a winning sister to champion sprinter-miler Aljabr who was a G1 winner of the Goodwood Sussex Stakes, Newbury Lockinge Stakes and Longchamp Prix de la Salamandre. His second dam Sierra Madre (Baillamont) was a G1 winner of the Prix Vermeille and Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp.
Al Fahidi Fort winners have a great record in the G1 Dubai Duty Free and Derbaas will be aimed for the US$5 million event at the Dubai World Cup meeting.
Hong Kong Sprint hero JJ The Jet Plane will also be set for the World Cup support card despite a lacklustre performance at Meydan on Thursday evening. The South African sprinter did not appear to handle the Tapeta surface when second last of 12 starters in the Attijari Al Islami Visa Infinite Card (1200m) won by Green Beret. He will revert to turf for the Al Quoz Sprint next month.