Hard-trying Dubai World Cup Carnival alumnus Mountain Hunter (above, far right) broke through at the Listed level for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, landing Newmarket’s Mukhadram Godolphin Stakes in dramatic fashion under Oisin Murphy.
An also-ran in this year’s Group 1 Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World, the son of Lonhro was third-choice of the five runners behind the well-fancied duo of Mount Everest and Weekender, but it was Godolphin colour-bearer Loxley who swept by him 300m out and appeared a winner until idling in the final yards. Always the grinding type, Mountain Hunter kept chasing said rival and finally caught him in the final jump by the slimmest of noses.
The win was the homebred’s sixth from 17 tries and his first beyond the handicap ranks. A Meydan regular, Mountain Hunter has made eight starts in Dubai, including three DWC Carnival victories; two this year. He was 12th of 13 in Almond Eye’s crowd-pleasing Dubai Turf annex in March.
“I wasn’t sure crossing the line and I hate to second-guess it, as there’s no worse feeling than losing one in a photo-finish,” Murphy said. “Loxley sat behind and the pace wasn’t very fast because Weekender didn’t break. I hadn’t ridden Mountain Hunter in a long time (since September 2018) and it turned into a bit of a sprint. I drifted right under pressure (from Loxley). He was hard to pick up again. This is a tough horse and it was a nice race. Mountain Hunter has given me another win in these colours for Saeed.”