Ertijaal and Jim Crowley shine on opening night of Dubai Carnival

Thu 5 Jan 2017

Ertijaal produced a blistering performance to give Jim Crowley his biggest winner since joining forces with Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum in the Longines Master Collection Handicap on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan.

Having been touched off in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night, the Ali Al Rayhi-trained six-year-old showed he was more than capable of giving weight away to his rivals in a devastating display of speed under the champion jockey.

Fast out of the stalls, the 8-11 favourite, who was formerly trained in England by William Haggas, quickly adopted a position at the head of the field he was to maintain all the way to the line in the five-furlong dash to claim a length-and-three-quarter success.

Crowley said: "He has got plenty of boot and was very fast out of the stalls. I just got into a nice rhythm and let him flow and he stuck on nicely.

"He will improve a lot for the run. He was giving plenty of weight away, but it's obviously the first time I've ridden him.

"He wants to get on with it and he doesn't like to be in there too long (stalls) but he got a great start tonight.

"For me he felt like he was still getting a little bit tired and I'd like to think he will come on a fair bit for that run. There is plenty to look forward to."

Although the form figures of the son of Oasis Dream suggest he is best at the minimum trip, Crowley believes a step back up to six furlongs for another go at the Al Quoz - which has reverted to that distance - should not pose too many problems.

He added: "He has got lots of speed, but he has won over six and over further.

"The thing is when he goes further he will probably find it a lot easier as there won't be so much competition for the lead. Wherever he goes I want to be on him."

There was further success on the card for Al Rayhi when Le Bernardin landed Round One of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Showing a good change of gear in the mile Group Two, the 6-1 shot burst through late on under Tadhg O'Shea to defeat outsider Long River by two lengths.

Doug Watson's Polar River and the Charlie Appleby-trained Emotionless were disappointments, with the latter finishing down the field in sixth on his first start on dirt.

However, there was something to celebrate for Appleby when 11-2 chance Flash Fire, winner of the Victoria Cup at Ascot in May, claimed the Longines Dolce Vita Handicap in the hands of William Buick, beating the Richard Fahey-trained Rene Mathis, who ran a nice race in second.

Christophe Soumillon gave French trainer Nicolas Caullery a winner at the track from his first runner when getting Golden Wood (20-1) home by a short head in the Longines La Grande Classique Handicap.

The Belgian ace completed a double when teaming up with South African handler Mike De Kock to take the Listed Singspiel Stakes courtesy of Light The Lights (10-1).

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