Trained in the USA by Bob Baffert and ridden by jockey Mike Smith, the four-year-old colt made it seven wins on the trot as he came through the field after an uncharacteristic poor start to beat Gun Runner and Neolithic.
Having won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Arrogate was unsurprisingly sent off as race favourite for the one mile two furlong trip, but he appeared to have lost all chance of success thanks to a slow start which saw him stationed at the rear of the field for some time.
But jockey Smith showed all his experience when it mattered and did not panic in the slightest, weaving in and out of the field as he gradually made up ground.
Rounding the turn for home he was making up many lengths, but Gun Runner appeared to have stolen a march and the likely winner.
However Arrogate found another gear when it mattered and bounded clear to give Baffert a third win in the race by two and a quarter lengths.
Speaking afterwards, Baffert said: “When he missed the break, I gave him no chance at all.
“I was so mad at myself thinking I shouldn’t have brought him – that’s the greatest horse I’ve ever seen run, it’s unbelievable, I can’t believe he won. That is a great horse.
“Mike did a great job, he didn’t panic. When he turned for home I said ‘If he wins he’s the greatest since Secretariat’.”
In the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, Jack Hobbs – trained by John Gosden and ridden by William Buick – won the Dubai Sheema Classic.
The 2015 Irish Derby hero missed most of last season due to injury but made a stunning start to his five-year-old career with an impressive win.
Last year’s winner of the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, the Roger Varian-trained Postponed, was sent off as race favourite to pull off a repeat but could finish only third.
The result was something of a major triumph for Gosden who has had to be patient as the horse was injured on his return to action last April and not seen out again until an excellent third in the Champion Stakes.
Jack Hobbs’s first start in the Godolphin silks was a second to Golden Horn in the 2015 Derby at Epsom, and among those he beat there was fifth-placed Highland Reel, who tried to make all on this occasion.
Enjoying an easy lead under Ryan Moore, the Aidan O’Brien-trained five-year-old was tracked by William Buick on the winner, with Postponed and Andrea Atzeni just behind. Jack Hobbs appeared to relax on the back straight and found a lovely rhythm, moving to the front two furlongs out, with Postponed looking the main danger. However Buick did not appear keen to go for home and waited a further half a furlong before deciding to go for the line.
Turning into the straight, Moore asked Highland Reel to quicken, but the response was disappointing and they folded tamely to finish last as Adrie De Vries and Prize Money, in the second Godolphin silks, threw down a short-lived challenge for Saeed Bin Suroor.
Jack Hobbs however pulled away with minimum effort to win by two and a quarter lengths to leave Postponed trailing, and it was left to O’Brien’s second runner, Seventh Heaven, to chase home the winner.
- Published in International