Frankie Dettori is still the go-to jockey in the big races around the world and the Italian delivered again on Saturday as he guided Country Grammer to victory in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan.
The Bob Baffert-trained five-year-old, a Grade 1 winner in the US last year, had chased home Emblem Road in the Saudi Cup in February and was always well-placed as hot favourite Life Is Good and Irad Ortiz Jr set the fractions in the ten-furlong contest.
Life Is Good was still in front at the furlong marker but the petrol gauge started to run empty as Dettori pounced on Country Grammer, hitting the front inside the final half- furlong and holding off the late charge of Hot Rod Charlie to score by a length and three-quarters, with Japanese raider Chuwa Wizard half a length away in third.
It was Dettori’s fourth World Cup victory following Dubai Millennium (2000), Moon Ballad (2003) and Electrocutionist (2006).
Dettori had struck earlier on the card when forcing a dead-heat aboard the John and Thady Gosden-trained Lord North in the Group 1 Dubai Turf (1m1f), sharing the spoils with Pantahalassa and Yutaka Yoshida for the all-conquering barn of Yoshito Yahagi.
The Ado McGuinness-trained A Case Of You ensured his owner Gary Devlin enjoyed a big payday with victory in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (6f) under Ronan Whelan, defeating the Richard Hannon-trained Happy Romance by a length and a quarter.
Flat season underway
Doncaster staged the traditional curtain raiser to the Flat season on Saturday with its Lincoln meeting.
Trainer William Haggas saddled three runners in the Lincoln handicap, including 3-1 favourite Mujtaba, but it was a former Haggas inmate, Johan, who struck under Silvestre de Sousa on his first run for Mick Channon.
Johan, bred and owned by Jon and Julia Aisbitt, was never far from the pace in the mile contest and saw off Saleymm by a length and a quarter.
Michael Pescod’s high-class miler Chindit had little difficulty in taking the Listed Doncaster Mile earlier on the card while Amo Racing look to have an exciting prospect in the shape of two-year-old Persian Force, easy winner of the Brocklesbury Stakes (5f). Both Chindit and Persian Force are trained by Richard Hannon.