Wind Of Dubai sails home in thrilling finish
Peters-trained Irish-bred wins by a nose after being wide for most of the way
The improving Wind Of Dubai scored a thrilling nose victory, after a torrid trip, in the $20,000 Open Maiden event over the Polytrack 1,200m on Saturday.
Carrying Dr Tan Kai Chah's Hippocrates Stable's yellow-and-purple colours made famous by champion mare Jolie's Shinju, the James Peters-trained Irish-bred had to endure a four-wide trip. But he found just enough to win by the barest of margins from the fast-finishing Marine Vanguard.
It was the son of Pride Of Dubai's first success in four starts. He showed a glimpse of ability at his previous outing, when a closing third to Kassab in a similar Open Maiden event over the Poly 1,000m on Jan 30.
Based on that encouraging third, Peters was hopeful for a breakthrough. But, when the $26 chance found himself punching the breeze on the outside for most of the way, he began hoping for at least a minor cheque.
But, well-handled by boom apprentice jockey Hakim Kamaruddin, Wind Of Dubai, though green in the home straight, fought resolutely to the line.
He clocked 1min 12.59sec for the 1,200m on the Polytrack.
It was a keenly contested affair, with eight horses almost in a line in the final 150m.
Although he was one of the first to break, Wind Of Dubai appeared to be beaten for speed. He dropped back around midfield, as Ima and More Than Oil disputed the lead.
The two leaders were swamped coming to the 200m mark. Wind Of Dubai was among them.
Ridden vigorously by Hakim, he kicked better than the rest to win, albeit narrowly from Marine Vanguard.
"He had a tough run, was caught four wide, which was not ideal. It was a more meritorious run than it looked. He was really tough at the finish," said Peters.
"He's still green and was hanging out under pressure. But it was great to see him get the win. He ran very well over 1,000m last start and we thought 1,200m would help.
"He had a good apprentice jockey on him, which helps. This horse is no superstar, but it was good to see him get the job done, especially for his owner KC.
"It's been a bit slow for KC of late, but hopefully, these young horses of his can start winning races now."
It was the 14th win for Hakim, who later made it a double with the Mark Walker-trained Savvy Command.
The season's leading rider - seven in front of already departed Ruan Maia - is nine clear of Iskandar Rosman, who saluted on the Stephen Gray-trained $45 winner Kharisma in the $50,000 Class 4 Division 2 race over the Poly 1,200m.
Explaining why he had to take a scenic tour on the outside, Hakim said: "I wanted to sit two off the fence but I couldn't get in.
"Last time, he ran over 1,000m and this time he was going over 1,200m, so I thought he had a good chance, but I was very lucky in the running.
"He got a bit tired in the end but he held on well. He's a horse who can improve further."