Barack Beach made the perfect start to his career and the season for Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen.
Soon in front as part of a trio contesting the lead, the Daredevil colt saw off the challenge of Attribution at the top of the straight with Cosmo Kramer still giving chase until the 300m pole, when he weakened and the winner shot clear. Mullen's mount had the race in safekeeping inside the final 200m and it was left to Laa Baas, who was held up throughout behind horses, to chase him home just over three lengths astern.
The attractively emblazoned H And B-owned colt was a $167,000 purchase at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up in April and is a half-brother to six winners while representing the first crop of his G1-winning sire. He is a grandson of the great sire Storm Cat on his mother's side and comes from a strong line of stakes-level sprinter-milers, including second-dam Morris Code.
Mullen said: "Dave Smith rides him at home and has been telling me how professional he is in his work and in the gates, so credit to him. The first time I rode him was in the trial and I was a bit disappointed, but Satish said he would improve a lot from that and he has. He certainly knew his job and has plenty of speed, but if we are going to look at the UAE 2000 Guineas, he will need to settle better in his races. Otherwise, he was very professional."
Seemar was soon back in the winner's enclosure, this time combining with Connor Beasley to land the Emirates SkyCargo, a 1200m handicap, with Way of Wisdom, who led home an impressive 1-2-3-4 finish for the master of Zabeel Stables. Midlander was second under Tadhg O'Shea, with favourite Speedy Move under Mullen in third and Circle Dream under Pat Cosgrave in fourth. A 4-year-old gelded son of Lonhro, Way of Wisdom was a winner once in Britain for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby and was opening his local account for owner Sayed Hashish at the eighth attempt and third outing on dirt.
Settled in midfield by Beasley, he made smooth progress on the home turn before sweeping to the front halfway up the straight after which they were never in any danger of being caught.
Hashish was on hand to greet his winner, sporting new silks for the owner, and said: "He struggled in two dirt outings last season, but ran well on turf. We wanted to try him back on dirt, which he trains on, and that has proved the right decision. It was a good performance. I had meant to change my colours a few seasons ago, but never managed to get around to it. Hopefully these new ones are going to prove lucky."
Beasley immediately completed a double of his own, landing the Arabian Adventures, a 1900m maiden, aboard debutant Woodditton, who was saddled by the jockey's main employer, Ahmad bin Harmash. Nearer last than first at the halfway point, Beasley, sporting the silks of Abdullah Menahi, was visibly getting closer on the back straight. Leaving the final turn, they were just behind the leaders before hitting the front about 200m out and resolutely holding off the renewed effort of runner-up Mulfit.
"He was a bit slowly away and showed his inexperience early," Beasley said. "However, I was able to get a tow into the race. Once he found his stride, he travelled well before picking up nicely. First time out, that was a very good performance and the boss has always liked this horse, so hopefully he can build on this."
The first 2000m handicap, the emirates.com, proved the perfect opportunity for jockey Sandro Paiva to double his UAE account, partnering his maiden Meydan winner aboard dour stayer Secret Trade, who ran on strongly in the final 300m to snatch victory from EERC's Doug Watson-trained Grand Argentier, who had taken up the running fully 500m from home under Pat Cosgrave. A winner three times at Al Ain last season, once over 2000m and twice at 2600m, the 6yo Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained son of Teofilo has only ever raced in the UAE and also won twice in 2017.
"I was a bit surprised how well he travelled, as he stays further," Paiva said. "The surface is quite slow, which really helped him and once I pulled him out of the kickback he ran on well. That is my first Meydan winner, which is great and I am very grateful to connections for the opportunity."
Sporting the 'lucky new silks' of Sayed Hashish, Mark of Approval completed a double for the owner when leading close home in the Emirates Airline, a 1600m handicap, in the hands of Antonio Fresu. Saddled by Mahmood Hussain, celebrating his sixth UAE victory, the 5-year-old gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid was settled in midfield with Fresu taking the shortest route before pulling his mount off the rail with 300m remaining.
The duo then swept past five rivals in the closing 200m, ultimately denying Moqarrar, who looked the likely winner until Fresu's mount found daylight. It was a second career victory for the winner, on just his fourth career start and first in 392 days, having previously won his second outing for John Gosden and Godolphin in a 1600m maiden on the Southwell fibresand in May 2017.
Hussain said: "That was a very nice surprise because he had been off a long time because of injury. He had been working well, so we thought he would run nicely and be ready next time. I am absolutely delighted. Antonio gave him a very good ride, allowing him to find his stride after a slow start and that is my first Thoroughbred winner and a good result for Sharjah Club, where I am based."
The meeting concluded with the Emirates Skyward, a 2000m handicap in which multi-year champion trainer Doug Watson proved that he would not be shut out on the evening when EERC's Tradesman stalked and pounced his way to victory under Pat Dobbs. The win provided obvious consolation on the tough loss earlier with Grand Argentier. Late-running plodder Immortalised overtook Philosopher in the final strides for second.
"The horse had been working very well and we thought had a big chance before we saw the draw, which was a worry, but Pat has given him a great ride and it has been a good night with Grand Argentier having run so well when second earlier on," said Justin Byrne, principal of EERC. "We have always thought Tradesman capable of winning again, which is why we retained him at the sale, so we are delighted he has vindicated that decision. Hopefully he can follow up."