Racing

Elite Excalibur gets thumbs up

Steven Burridge's runner presses on with runner-up finish in Dubai

After two unplaced efforts, ELITE EXCALIBUR finally got on the board in Dubai with a meritorious second at Meydan on Thursday night.

Lining up for his third outing in the United Arab Emirates, the Kranji one-from-one winner turned in his best performance to date when launched by South African jockey Bernard Fayd'Herbe at the 300m in the EGA Potlines Trophy over the mile.

Caught three wide even after jumping from barrier No. 2 in the small eight-horse field, the Fastnet Rock four-year-old took a while to warm up as he proceeded to peg Cymric (W Buick) back, and even looked like he would give up, but Fayd'Herbe pulled out all the stops on the outside and trainer Steven Burridge's ward valiantly chopped back the margin to run a half-length second to Cymric.

QUICK BACK-UP

Elite Excalibur was on the quick back-up after his disappointing fourth to Promising Run in an 1,800m race last Thursday.

Three weeks earlier, the Australian-bred who scored three wins for Gai Waterhouse and Coolmore in Sydney, ran a luckless fifth to Flash Fire under Kranji jockey Michael Rodd at his Meydan debut in the Group 2 Al Rashidiya over 1,800m on Jan 5.

All of Elite Excalibur's three conquerors hail from the powerful Godolphin stable.

A lot was riding on that last run as Burridge had been tossing up the idea of cutting short the Dubai adventure if the Elite Performance Stable-owned gelding had performed below par.

The Australian still rued the way his horse got "outsmarted" but was overall happy with the run and has decided to press on.

A BIT OUTSMARTED

"He drew two but he was pushed out early by another horse. I think we were a bit outsmarted, but Bernard still rode him good," said Burridge who did not fly out to watch the race "live" this time after being on hand at the first two.

"He's a bit of a grinder but I must say he finished the race off very well. All in all, both Julie (wife) and Wade (son), who was there, were happy with the run, and so am I.

"We are now looking to run him in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium (2,000m) in two weeks' time."