Godolphin's undefeated MENDIP (Harlan's Holiday), a Triple Crown nominee, scored a professional victory in his three-year-old debut in Dubai on Thursday.
The Saeed bin Suroor pupil faced 13 rivals in the 1ST race, an about seven-furlong conditions event on the synthetic Tapeta surface at Meydan Racecourse. Four of them were his stablemates, including fellow Triple Crown nominees Cappiwino (Soto) and Fareej (Kingmambo).
Mendip was apparently the most highly regarded of the Godolphin quartet, for the stable's top jockey, Frankie Dettori, chose to ride him. After stalking the early pace, Mendip smoothly struck the front with a furlong to go and held off the fast-finishing Uncle Tom (First American) by a measured half-length. Uncle Tom, a Group 1 winner in his native Brazil, is a four-year-old.
Mendip stopped the clock in 1:24.59.
"He traveled well and quickened nicely," Dettori recapped. "Hopefully he can improve."
The other Triple Crown nominees did not fare well, with Cappiwino tiring to 10th and Fareej trailing home last of 14.
Mendip was a debut maiden winner at Kempton in England last September. Now two-for-two with $38,495 in earnings, he may have entered long-range calculations for the March 27 U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2).
Bin Suroor was not ready to commit to any major objectives.
“Mendip is an improving young horse ,but we have no ambitious plans as yet," he told godolphin.com. “Hopefully, he will build on this, but we will take our time and next week’s U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-G3) will come too soon I think.”
Bred by Jayeff B Stables in Kentucky, the dark bay colt is the first registered foal from Well Spring (Coronado's Quest), and he has a juvenile full brother named Waterfall and an unnamed yearling half-sister by Latent Heat. Mendip's second dam is Test S. (G1) and Ballerina H. (G1) queen Chaposa Springs (Baldski), herself a half-sister to Metropolitan H. (G1) winner and sire You and I (Kris S.).
Mendip has toured the sales ring twice. A $130,000 Keeneland September yearling, he attracted $375,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Calder two-year-old in training.