They came from all around the world- the best jockeys, trainers and equine stars of the turf along with the most figures in horse racing to Meydan and this almost private party hosted by Sheik Mohammed.
Though having an opening ceremony towards the end of the meeting has always been puzzling, what a spectacle it was- fireworks, helicopters, opera, flying saucers, Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and a few bombs going off, all of which probably made the horses waiting to race think that Armageddon had come, it was a momentary break from some excellent racing which saw victories from Shea Shea, St Nicholas Abbey- a great ride by Joseph O’Brien- and the incredible American galloper Animal Kingdom ridden by Joel Rosario taking out the Dubai World Cup in scintillating fashion.
Recently purchased by Arrowfield Stud, we couldn’t help but notice John Messara running around licking his chops and singing, “We’re In The Money” and the old ABBA hit, Money, Money, Money. Yes, it’s a rich man’s world.
The highlights mentioned were very high though the rides on hot pot Secret Number in the UAE Derby and Gentildonna, ridden by Iwata, seemed to be from Marboro Country with even a jockey like the very good Sylvester De Souza going through temporary brain freeze.
Fortunately, De Souza redeemed himself with an excellent winning ride aboard Sajjhaa in the Dubai Duty Free and probably saved himself from the wrath of Godolphin.
For Hong Kong, the highlights were the great performances by Eagle Regiment and, especially, the incredible Joy And Fun which ran an almighty second to Shea Shea in the Al Quoz Sprint and which just might have shelved any talk of that being the galloper’s last race before retirement.
Just as fifty is the new forty, Joy And Fun is proving that being a nine-year-old is the new five-year-old.
Sadly for many Hong Kong racing fans, this, of all races, was not seen ‘live’ as ATV World cut for the Main News and viewers asked to switch over to ATV Asia.
There is an ATV Asia? Where?
Still, co-hosts JoJo McKinnon and Paul Lally did a sterling job despite being plonked behind what looked like two old oil bins which were draped over with some curtains from The Board Room bordello in Melbourne. So much for art direction and style.
Trainer John Moore failed once again to make a dent on the International stage when Frederick Engel missed the kick, after which it was never a chance.
Meanwhile, Gerard Mosse again proved what a great jockey he is by riding Ronald Arculli’s Red Cadeaux into second place in the World Cup.
Mosse, too, was seen leaving the Meydan racecourse with a spring in his step and singing a French version of ABBA’s Money Money Money.