Naval Crown shows his class in Al Fahidi Fort

Meydan victory for Appleby runner.

NAVAL CROWN  Picture: Dubai Racing Club

Naval Crown  registered his first win in nearly a year in the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan.

Despite not having got his head in front since last February, Naval Crown was an odds-on favourite for trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick having run some fine races in defeat, most notably when beaten just three lengths in fourth in the 2000 Guineas.

Off the track since finishing down the field in the Prix Jean Prat last July, Naval Crown made light of his lengthy absence as he travelled well throughout the seven-furlong contest, switching wide to challenge in the straight before ultimately holding Story Of Light and the fast-finishing Zainhom.

Buick told Racing TV: "He's a great little horse and he travels great. He was the best horse in the race on form and he was in shape coming into it, so it was a good opportunity for him.

"He's a lovely horse – beautiful looking and very strong. He deserves to win a big one."

Appleby and Buick had got off to a winning start with Silent Speech in the opening Dubai Trophy over six furlongs.

A winner at Wolverhampton in November, Silent Speech was just too good for fellow Godolphin runner Home City, with Wild Place completing a clean sweep for the owner in third.

Desert Fire was a surprise winner of the Al Rashidiya for Saeed bin Suroor and Hector Crouch, leading home a one-two-three for the Godolphin team.

Highland Avenue cut out the early running in the nine-furlong Group Two, with Desert Fire perfectly placed to take up the running as the field turned into the home straight.

Royal Fleet and Art Du Val both tried to throw down late challenges, but neither could reel in the winner.

Dual Group One winner Lord Glitters was expected to shine for David O'Meara but despite making late progress from the rear of the field, he could not get back on terms and had to settle for fourth.

Bin Suroor said: "He's improved a lot physically, even this year as a seven-year-old. He's runs well when he's fresh. The horse is better than ever this year and I'm happy for the jockey too.

"He's a smart jockey and I think he will have a big future."

Of fifth-placed Bedouin's Story, Bin Suroor added: "It didn't work out for him tonight, but I'm sure he will improve for the race."

The same owner dominated the finish of the Jumeirah Derby Trial, with the Bin Suroor-trained Island Falcon prevailing in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

Island Falcon was last seen winning the Golden Horn Maiden at Nottingham in October and Dettori produced a perfectly-timed run to grab the lead in the final furlong, beating Charlie Appleby's New Kingdom.

Bin Suroor teamed up with Pat Cosgrave to make it a hat-trick with Dubai Icon in the closing 10-furlong contest, with the six-year-old coming home well clear as Rebel's Romance – winner of last year's UAE Derby – disappointed for Appleby and Buick.

Rawy made every yard of the running to shed his maiden tag in style in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial.

Appleby's Albahr was a leading fancy having won a Grade One in Canada last year, but he never really looked like challenging the Salem bin Ghadayer-trained winner, who benefitted from a perfect front-running ride from Mickael Barzalona.

Al Tariq won the Group Three Dubawi Stakes for Pat Dobbs and Doug Watson.

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