Godolphin's Kinglet captured Thursday's Group 3, $250,000 U.A.E. Two Thousand Guineas at Meydan in Dubai.
A fast-finishing second in the local Trial on January 12, the Mahmoud al Zarooni-trained colt convincingly turned the tables on Trial winner Dark Matter when it counted.
Dark Matter vied for the lead with Sand Stamp in the opening stages, but soon let his rival edge in front. At the opposite end of the field came Kinglet, trailed by the other Godolphin runner, Rassam.
Swinging into the stretch, Dark Matter re-engaged along the inside and regained the lead. But unlike in the Trial, he was not able to keep finding more, or put the race away. Mehdi erupted and briefly put his head in front, but he too could not seal the deal.
Finally, Kinglet began to gain momentum beneath Mickael Barzalona, and inexorably wore Mehdi down. Although Mickdaam punched through belatedly in the final strides, Kinglet held him safely at bay by a neck in a final time of 1:37 3/5 for the metric mile on Tapeta.
Mehdi came home another three-quarters of a length away in third. Surfer, Dark Matter, Noor Zabeel, Rassam, Burano and Sand Stamp completed the order of finish.
Kinglet was the second half of a Guineas double for al Zarooni, who collected the U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas with Gamilati last Friday.
"It is obviously great to complete the Guineas double, and Mickael gave him a very good ride," al Zarooni said.
The trainer/jockey tandem was winning the Guineas for the second straight year, having connected with Splash Point in the 2011 running.
Bred by Darley in Kentucky, the Kingmambo colt is the first foal from multiple Grade/Group 3 victress Karen's Caper, who was a shade unlucky not to have won at the top level. The daughter of War Chant came out on the wrong side of the head-bob in both the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Invitational Challenge Cup at Keeneland.
Kinglet has proven to be more photogenic, so to speak, than his dam. The dark bay won his debut in a photo-finish at Newmarket last August. Subsequently third in a pair of novice events, he concluded his juvenile campaign with an impressive victory over Kempton's Polytrack.
With this first leg of the U.A.E. Triple Crown on his resume, Kinglet sports a 6-3-1-2 mark and $172,550 in earnings. The remaining two classics are the Al Bastakiya on March 10 and the U.A.E. Derby on World Cup night.
None of the Guineas contestants is in the frame for the American Triple Crown at the moment. Dark Matter is not eligible, as an Australian-bred four-year-old by Northern Hemisphere reckoning, and the actual three-year-olds have not been nominated as of the early deadline.