By Dick Downey
Made the 4-5 favorite in a field of six in U. S. betting, Mubtaahij (IRER) was an easy winner of the Al Bastakiya at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.
The Al Bastakiya is not a Kentucky Derby points race, and Mubtaajih has no points yet, but he's expected to go for 100 of them in the U.A.E. Derby on March 28.
The Mike de Kock trainee prevailed by 2 1/2 lengths over the second betting choice, Sir Fever (URU). He was 6-5. Ajwad (ARG), the third choice at 7-1, finished third, over 10 lengths further back. Next in line were Tashbeeh (AUS), Quarterback (GER) and Intenser (IRE). High Blade (BRZ) scratched.
The track chartmaker described Mubtaahij's run thusly: "Tracked leaders, smooth progress 600 meters out, led 300 meters out, comfortably." Dane O'Neill was in the saddle. The 1 3/16-mile race was timed in 1:59:08.
Absent from the 1 3/16-mile Al Bastakiya was Maftool, who narrowly defeated Mubtaahij in the U.A.E. 2000 Guineas on Feb. 12.
Mubtaahij, a son of Dubawi, is owned by Sheik Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and was bred by Dunmore Stud Ltd. He was purchased for $599,760 at the Arqana Deauville sale in August 2013.