SHEIKHZAYEDROAD’S passport is going to get a lot of stamps in the next few months after his victory in the Skybet York Stakes at York Racecourse.
The Canadian International, in Toronto, is the main target for David Simcock’s five-year-old in October – but visits to Hong Kong and Dubai are also on the agenda following his neck victory over Secret Gesture in the Group 2 £100,000 contest.
Secret Gesture can count herself unlucky not to be basking in glory, jockey Jamie Spencer’s mount rallying gamely after leading from the start of the mile and a quarter contest before being overtaken by Windhoek in the final couple of furlongs.
The Godolphin-trained colt faded badly on the run in to the line, however, and, as Secret Gesture came by, Sheikhzayedroad – named after the longest road in the United Arab Emirates and the main street in Dubai – rushed through with a perfectly timed run from rider Martin Lane to take the prize.
Simcock said: “The Canadian International is the main long-term aim. We will find something for him in between. Hong Kong could be an option and he will definitely be going to Dubai.
“He will do plenty of travelling. With a horse of Group 2 calibre you are not going to fit into a lot of races. He is very game and very consistent. If you look at his profile, he is so consistent and, as he is getting older, he is getting easier to ride.”
Lane added: “He showed a good attitude and really knuckled down. Beforehand I would have been happy to take the first three but I really couldn’t ask for anything better from him.”
Muthmir came home in a blur of speed to win the Sky Bet Dash.
The 4-1 favourite, trained at Newmarket by William Haggas, looked rushed off his feet early on in the six furlong £50,000 contest.
But the fast pace, and firm ground, obviously suited the four-year-old as he came flying through, with Graham Lee in the saddle, to put the race to bed and win by a length and a half from Goldream.
Rene Mathis, trained at Malton by Richard Fahey, was third. A six pound penalty for victory may yet get him in at the bottom of the handicap in the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood next week.
Maureen Haggas, wife of the trainer, said: “That was great. We have always liked him. He’s a bit enthusiastic and the fast pace suited him.
“He got his ground, which he hasn’t had, and we have only been able to run him once. He has always been a nice horse. He is in the Stewards Cup and we will see.
“He has always been a good horse and things never went quite right. He would be too keen. Whether he runs next week, I don’t yet know. That would be two races in a week but he has not had a hard life.”