By Duane Fonseca
Saturday’s 2023 Dubai World Cup card was handed a fitting start by Majed Al Jahoori’s Hayyan and Ahmad bin Harmash’s Barakka, the pair turning the battle for the PA Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic into a match race whose crescendo was reached in the high drama of the home stretch. A head bobbing duel ensued between the pair, which was eventually won by the Oscar Chavez-piloted Hayyan, but not after a massive scare.
The duo, with Ray Dawson riding Barakka, were alert tracking the lead set by Ernst Oertel’s PA Group 2 Bani Yas winner AF Alajaj, who was a head in front of Kerless Del Roc, winner of the PA Group 2 Madjani Stakes, a race in which Barakka was second. Barakka and Hayyan looked solid making the final turn with Dawson first to get his partner off the bridle.
As Barakka went forward to seize the pace, Hayyan’s game plan seemed the same. The PA Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 winner too was switched into top gear and picked up speed down the centre to move at least a length clear. Dawson wasn’t done yet and convinced Barakka to empty his tank, but that proved only sufficient to get him to within a short head of the winner, the pair finishing eight and a half lengths clear of defending champion First Classs.
It was Al Jahoori’s second success in the race after Rabbah De Carrere’s victory in the 2014 edition and the Abu Dhabi-based conditioner said: “To win this for a second time is a dream and I’m very happy. I have to thank HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his support.”
A TEAM EFFORT
His son and assistant trainer Sultan added: “Congratulations to my team. Hayyan did very well. He won Round 2 and we were hopeful that he would come and win again. He did well and won a very exciting race. “This horse is very sensitive. My heart stopped when I saw him stopping (near the finishing post) but he carried on and thankfully he won.”
Winning rider Chavez added: “The moment the trainer legged me up, I knew that he was way better than his last run. "I knew that he would jump and put himself into a good spot without forcing him too much.” Barakka’s rider Dawson was gutted. “Heartbroken. You’d rather lose by a couple of lengths than to be beaten like that. That's racing, someone has to come up on the losing end but he gave me his all and I couldn't be prouder of him,” he said.
1. Hayyan (Al Jahoori/Chavez)
2. Barakka (Harmash/Dawson)
3. First Classs (De Mieulle/Guyon