By Dick Downey
Photo by Dubai Racing Club, Andrew Watkins
.Asmar is a maiden no more after winning the Al Bastakiya at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
Sensing a slow pace by Chord Chart, Richard Hughes went to the lead aboard Asmar in the backstretch with a half-mile run in :52.78. Asmar and Hughes stayed there, winning by six lengths after hitting the top of the stretch and opening up on the field under energetic handling by Hughes.
The chart call for Asmar: "Tracked leaders, led 1200 meters out, kicked clear 500 meters out, comfortably."
The 1900 meter race, about 1 3/16 mile, was timed in 1:59.56.
Post time favorite Emirates Flyer finished second, Najm Suhail third and Duke Derby fourth. They were followed by He's No Saint, More Aspen, Chord Chart, Full Combat, Letterfromamerica and Eye in the Sky.
Nine of the starters are 3-year-olds under North American rules, including the winner. However, none of them are nominated to the Triple Crown. Late nominations close on March 22. Full Combat was bred in South Africa and is considered a 4-year-old under North American rules.
Asmar, owned and trained by Fawzi Nass, finished third in his first two starts and was most recently fifth in the 2000 Guineas last month. All four of his races have been on Meydan's synthetic surface.
The winner was bred in Ireland by Eric Puerari and Oceanic Bloodstock. He's by Cape Cross (IRE) out of Zaneton (FR), by Mtoto (GB).
Fawzi Nass: “That was a great performance but we knew he would relish this trip, and it is a great effort to win a race like this with a maiden. We discussed the race in depth with Richard, and the plan was to sit close to the pace and see how the race was panning out.
"If there was no speed we were happy to go on, as the one thing we knew this horse would do was stay. It was a great ride and a wonderful result for a small yard. We will be back for the UAE Derby in three weeks but, obviously, that will be a stronger race.”