Monterosso wins Dubai race
Dubai - Monterosso led home a Godolphin one-two in the Dubai World Cup over 2 000 metres at Meydan racecourse on Saturday when he swept past his stablemate, Capponi, to win the world's richest race.
The five-year-old, ridden by Mickael Barzalona, advanced from a prominent position to win a race in which he finished third last year.
The contested early pace helped to bring Monterosso's stamina into play as Capponi finally gave way after challenging for the lead throughout.
It was the perfect end to the $27.25 million extravaganza for Sheikh Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai who owns both Monterosso and Capponi.
The outcome brought some consolation to the sheikh, whose Fox Hunt had to be humanely destroyed after breaking a leg in a race three hours earlier.
For Barzalona, meanwhile, it was the perfect start to his new position as Frankie Dettori's understudy at Godolphin. Dettori himself finished down the field aboard Prince Bishop.
Monterosso banked the winner's purse of $6 million. He won by three lengths from Capponi after a brief tussle halfway down the home straight, with Planteur a half-length back in third and hot favourite the former Australian champion, but trained in Ireland for the past year by Aidan O'Brien, So You Think in fourth.
The latter had his chance along the rail but could not summon the acceleration to mount a serious challenge.
Monterosso only returned to the fray earlier this month after an 11-month absence enforced by a minor injury.
He was compromised by the slow early gallop 12 months ago but that was never likely to be a problem with so many front-runners gathered among the 13-strong field.
And so it proved.
Transcend, runner-up from an easy lead last year, was driven hard by jockey Shinji Fujita to reach the front after two furlongs. He was chased throughout by Capponi and So You Think, with Monterosso following closely in their wake.
The American challenger, Game On Dude, was brought into contention by Chantal Sutherland, who was bidding to become the first female jockey to win the World Cup. But his bid proved short-lived.
With Transcend weakening, Capponi struck for home off the final bend and made a bold bid.
The five-year-old fought valiantly to retain his advantage under his Dubaian jockey, Ahmed Ajtebi, but Barzalona had him covered from the 400 metre mark.
From there, the Corsican-born jockey simply chose his moment and the prize was his.
Japan's three-strong challenge came to nothing after horses from that country filled the first two places last year, while So You Think, trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien again failed to match the international standard.