James Doyle is leading the jockey’s championship with five winners, including two Group 2 races for Charlie Appleby. He has already equalled his total tally for 2018. Connor Beasley is showing a tremendous run of form in only his second season riding in Dubai, currently in second place with four Carnival winners and an impressive strike rate of 22%. Christophe Soumillon, Christopher Hayes and Richard Mullen all boast three winners a piece. Notably Soumillon, no stranger to Carnival success, has finished in the money (top three) in 55% of his races.
Twelve jockeys have ridden one Carnival winner so far in 2019, including Brett Doyle, who has shown consistency with four of his ten rides finishing in the first three.
Team Godolphin’s Appleby heads up the trainer rankings with seven Carnival victories, headlined by the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort victor D’bai and Group 2 Cape Verdi winner Poetic Charm, over fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor’s four.
Local trainers Ahmad bin Harmash and Satish Seemar follow closely with three Carnival wins to their names. Of those with 10 runners or more, Satish Seemar’s 27% strike rate outperforms Ahmad bin Harmash’s 20% and Charlie Appleby’s 19%. Sandeep Jadhav has sent out a pair of winners, joining the other two local trainers with four or more placings.
Reigning UAE champion trainer Doug Watson has captured a sole Carnival race, courtesy of Al Shindagha Sprint (G3) winner Drafted, while finishing second and third five times each.
Godolphin’s 11 Carnival wins places them well ahead of local owner Sultan Ali, whose two wins are tied with Phoenix Ladies Syndicate.
The Phoenix Ladies Syndicate is new to the Carnival scene and has successfully partnered with Ahmad bin Harmash in sending out two 3-year-old winners from three runners, highlighted by the unbeaten Violence colt Walking Thunder taking the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial by nine lengths. Their other winner is Golden Jaguar, who went two lengths clear to capture the 1400m Meydan Classic Trial last Thursday.
Thus far, 32 races have been contested and 33 remain in the Carnival, including the seven-race $2.65 million Super Saturday card on March 9th.
South Africa completed its summer season of black type racing in Cape Town at Kenilworth with Rainbow Bridge flying in the final 200 meters to win the Grade 1 Sun Met (2000m) Celebrated with G.H. Mumm by 3/4 length from the favorite, Do It Again.
Head Honcho, who made all the early going, was just nipped for second with Undercover Agent and Legal Eagle fourth and fifth. Super filly Oh Susanna, last year's winner, was never settled through the race and finished seventh.
Rainbow Bridge, a Southern Hemisphere four-year-old by Ideal World, finished in 2:02.96 with Anton Marcus riding for trainer Eric Sands, who celebrated his first Sun Met victory.
Rainbow Bridge now has six wins from eight starts. He was third behind Do It Again in the Grade 1 Queen's Plate over 1600m at Kenilworth on January 5th.
The Grade 1 Cape Derby went to Atyaab, a New Zealand-bred colt by Dundeel. Atyaab edged Charles, who was comfortably in front of Herodotus in third. Atyaab, trained by Mike de Kock, won for the third time in seven starts. He was coming off a second-place finish in the 1,800-meters Sea Cottage Stakes Jan. 6.
In Korea Mask ran out a dominant winner of the Segye Ilbo Cup, landing Korea’s first Listed race of 2019 by a commanding two-and-a-half lengths under a fine ride by reigning champion jockey Antonio Da Silva at Seoul Raceourse on Sunday afternoon.
Second in last year’s Korean Derby, Mask was dropping back to six-furlongs for the first time since he was a juvenile but having ended last season strongly, the Testa Matta colt was sent off as co-favourite alongside Cheonji Storm, 3rd in this race a year ago.
With Mask under Da Silva operating at his fluid finest, the Lim Bong-chun trained colt struck the front just inside the 200m pole and he ran clear for a comfortable win. Sinui Myeongryeong had enough in her to stay on for 2nd place while City Star, runner up last year was a fast finishing 3rd.
For Mask it was a fifth win in fifteen career starts and his second in Listed company. A Group win still eludes him, but he will get a chance to rectify that when most of the top place-getters reconvene in the Grade 3 Owners’ Cup in March over the same distance.
Hong Kong's racing stepped up towards the BMW Hong Kong Derby in March and Champions Day in April and trainer Frankie Lor stamped his mark on the Four-Year-Old Classic Series with a first Hong Kong Classic Mile success.
Furore’s impressive victory in 1m 34.28s led a Lor charge that saw the handler seal second and fourth for good measure.
The Pierro gelding stormed the final 400m in 22.25s for a two and a half-length victory in the hands of Hugh Bowman. Success represented first blood on the road to the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) on 17 March.
Exultant showed a hint of dash to win the Group 3 Centenary Vase Handicap (1800m) and hand trainer Tony Cruz a 1200th Hong Kong win at Sha Tin on Sunday.
The fact that Exultant could step back three furlongs from last month’s triumph in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m), and win in a time of 1m 45.68s – only 0.27s off the track record – had Cruz brimming with enthusiasm about future pursuits, while victory fingers were raised at a landmark reached.
“It’s always good to get a big number like this,” he said. “Exultant will go for the Hong Kong Gold Cup next month. He’s entered for Dubai - whether or not he goes there is up to the owner but to win like that at a distance short of his best only gives me more confidence in the horse.
Southern Hemisphere yearling sales were in full swing during the month with the Cape Yearling Sale in Cape Town, Magic Millions Sale on the Gold Coast and the New Zealand Bloodstock Sale Series at Karaka, Auckland.
These sales provide many Asian Racing Federation countries with their future racing stock.
For example the Hong Kong Jockey Club purchased three colts at Karaka for a total cost of NZ$795,000 (approximately HK$4.181 million) along with many private purchases by trainers and bloodstock agents.
February will see further Group racing in Hong Kong as well as Group 1 racing resuming in Australia. Australia’s champion mare Winx will commence a new and possibility her final campaign in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 16th.