Although Godolphin didn't have any luck in Thursday's $150,000 Meydan Classic, the team's secondary trainer/jockey tandem of Mahmood al Zarooni and Ahmed Ajtebi prevailed with Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed al Maktoum's INTROVERT (Iffraaj). The Dubai turf test is unlikely to have a bearing on the Kentucky Derby (G1), but it could still yield a contender for the March 26 U.A.E. Derby (UAE-G2).
The Irish-bred Introvert was improving off his third in the February 3 Meydan Classic Trial, and emphatically reversed form with Trial winner Lord of the Stars (Speightstown) and runner-up Krypton Factor (Kyllachy). (Photo courtesy of Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club.)
Lord of the Stars forced the early pace set by the filly Crying Lightening (Holy Roman Emperor), while Janood (Medicean) and Krypton Factor comprised the tracking flight, and Introvert was held up near the back of the pack. At the top of the stretch, Crying Lightening gave way, and Lord of the Stars took charge. Janood and Krypton Factor were trying to make headway in his wake, but Introvert was beginning to emerge as a bigger danger. Accelerating smartly, he burst to the lead and drew off by 3 1/4 lengths to complete the metric mile in 1:37 4/5 on the good turf.
"It was a good run last time, and we were very hopeful of reversing the Trial form over the extra distance," Ajtebi said, referring to the extra furlong. "He ran on very strongly and should stay further."
Ahlaain (Bernstein), fourth in the Trial, rattled home late and grabbed runner-up honors by a neck from Lord of the Stars, who was in turn a short head up on the filly Rosina Grey (Proclamation). Janood checked in a close fifth, Krypton Factor came next, and Crying Lightening retreated to ninth in the 11-horse field.
Introvert's first stakes credit increased his earnings to $106,480 from his 9-2-3-2 record. The bay colt broke his maiden third time out last summer, in his first attempt on Polytrack at Lingfield. This was his third start of the Carnival, with his debut being a sixth behind Zanzamar (Fort Wood) and Splash Point (Street Cry [Ire]) in the January 20 U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas Trial on Tapeta prior to his third in the Meydan Classic Trial.
Bred by Mrs. T. Marnane, Introvert brought $121,117 as a Tattersalls December weanling and later commanded $236,625 back at Tattersalls as an October yearling. He is out of the Sunday Silence mare Isana, a full sister to the French stakes-placed Celestial Lagoon, the dam of Group 3-placed stakes victress Maria Gabriella (Rock of Gibraltar [Ire]). Isana hails from the same female line as Grade/Group 3 victor King of Happiness (Spinning World) as well as German highweight and sire Robin des Pins (Nureyev) and his full brother, the Group 2-placed stakes scorer and sire Robin des Bois (Nureyev).