Saturday, 20 February, 2021
Following the victory of sprint star Space Blues (IRE), Godolphin’s day in Saudi Arabia just got even better when, at the other end of the distance spectrum stayer Gifts Of Gold (IRE) capitalised on a perfect trip in the Red Sea Turf Handicap to land the US $2.5 million contest by a length and a quarter from Spanish Mission (USA), with fellow Godolphin raider Secret Advisor (FR) running home strongly to take third.
From a sedate early pace, last year’s winner Call The Wind (GB) made the early running with the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Gifts Of Gold settling into a handy position under Pat Cosgrave just behind the leaders on the rail in third.
With Mildenberger (GB) contesting the lead with Call The Wind heading into the home turn, Cosgrave switched his mount to the outside to come four wide as the leaders gave way to Making Miracles (GB) making a move through on the inside.
Once straightened for home, Gifts Of Gold was able to unleash a potent sprint kick to surge clear of the leader as Spanish Mission made a determined effort to reel him in, but the 6-year-old son of Invincible Spirit proved just too strong.
One of the lower-profile members of the field at the outset, Gifts Of Gold’s victory was the fourth of his career, and the first time he had triumphed beyond 2000m.
Saeed Bin Suroor, trainer, Gifts Of Gold, 1st: "This was the plan since January when racing started in Dubai. I thought he would be the perfect horse. He’s a big strong horse and he ran well. The pace of the race wasn’t that fast and that suited him and he finished the race off really well.
"Pat is good jockey and he has won big races for us in Australia, England and Germany. We’re happy. We will take him back to Dubai and maybe he will go for the Gold Cup. I’m sure he will improve some more."
Pat Cosgrave, jockey, Gifts Of Gold: "That was great. Hopefully we’re not finished yet! He was 110 there in a handicap so you have to think he’s a horse for the Melbourne Cup maybe next year. He relaxes good and he has that turn of foot which is perfect for Melbourne."
Ryan Moore, jockey, Spanish Mission, 2nd: "He ran a nice race, you must be happy with that first run of the year. He has won a big one in the past already. The ground is a bit loose now."
Charlie Appleby, trainer, Secret Advisor, 3rd: "That was a pleasing run. Will (Buick, jockey) said he got a lovely pitch round there. He’s a solid campaigner at that trip, and the winner is a good horse on his day, as we know. Great for Saeed, Team Godolphin and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed again."
Rest of jockey quotes:
Hollie Doyle, Red Verdon, 4th: "It was a real test of his stamina. He travelled around beautifully and he really wanted to do it today, which was great."
Luis Morales, Making Miracles, 5th: "I had a great trip. Beautiful. He just got a little tired in the last 300m but he ran very well."
Frankie, Prince Of Arran, 9th: "They went very slowly and I was too far back."
Jamie Spencer, Mekong, 10th: "They went too slow."
Olivier Peslier, Call The Wind, 11th: "He was leaning heavily on me during the entire race. He leaned to the right and that is not what he usually does. This is not the horse as we know him."