Fulbright Takes the Challenge Stakes
1 Fulbright 15/2
2 Red Jazz 12/1
3 Arnold Lane 14/1
11 ran Distances: nk, 3¼l, 1l
TIME 1m 24.03s (slow by 1.53s)
“He astounds me”, that was the reaction of winning trainer Mark Johnston following the victory of Fulbright under Joe Fanning in the Group Two Dubai Challenge Stakes over seven furlongs. He was returned at 15/2 and battled gamely in the final furlong to overhaul long-time leader Red Jazz by a neck.
The three-year-old son of Exceed And Excel, who is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, was making his 12th appearance of 2012 and winning for the first time in Group company.
Mark Johnston said: “Deirdre (his wife) said the horse was a bit on edge and sweated badly when he disappointed at Redcar last time. He got warm again today and was difficult to saddle, so I thought he had maybe had too many runs this season. As it turned out, today was his best run yet.
“I don’t know if he will run again this season but I don’t think he will. We will go home with him and speak to the boss.
“The horse astounds me. When the stable had a bad patch in July, he was the shining beacon for us and last time out at Redcar was the only time he has run disappointingly.
“As he has been on the go all the season, he just canters at home and doesn’t show much. I doubt he has had a gallop at home since about April.
“He has been full of pleasant surprises all the way.”
Joe Fanning added: “He has done it well and has been a good little horse this year. He has had a hard year and he has won plenty of races.
“He has bounced back from Redcar and has won well - he is tough.”
Red Jazz, trained by Charlie Hills and ridden by Michael Hills, tried to make all and very nearly succeeded, only being passed by the winner Fulbright in the closing stages when beaten a neck in the Group Two Dubai Challenge Stakes at 12/1.
The trainer said: “Red Jazz has run a blinder. It was just unfortunate that he did all the hard work and was caught near the line. That is racing I suppose.
“We will see what the handicapper does with his rating and there is a possibility he could go for the Dubai Carnival early next year.”