Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins
Ihtimal provided a visual display of perfection on Thursday
at Meydan, as the three year old filly romped to victory by a record-breaking
ten length margin and increase her perfect tally to two in the UAE Oaks.
Settled towards the rear of the pack, the heavily favoured
4/11 favourite was faced with the new challenge of a paceless first half mile
in the UAE Oaks contest, but despite this test she was able to pick up and run
on in the manner of an exceptional filly as she powered to the head of the
pack, never looking back as she pulled away with effortless ease.
A three year old daughter of Shamardal, Ihtimal announce her
presence last season with a dominant display in the Group II May Hill Stakes at
Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, but despite a disappointing defeat in the GI
Fillies’ Mile next time out – in which she finished behind the subsequent GI Breeders’
Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf victor Chriselliam – Ihtimal has bounced back to her
inspired best at Meydan this year, performing in a manner that no filly could rival
in both of her Dubai Classic victories.
“It looked easy for her tonight,” said winning jockey
Silvestre de Sousa. “She improved from her previous race and the trip suited
her. She has some class.”
With her second victory Ihtimal has struck fear into the hooves of her European rivals, whom will lock horns with the race-fit Godolphin filly in the fillies English Classic, the 1,000 Guineas, on May 4th. However, whilst that race will surely see Ihtimal perform creditably, it may yet be the Oaks at Epsom in which she performs at her utmost best.
A best priced 10-1 for both the 1,000 Guineas and the Epsom
Classic, the Epsom contest will be run over three furlongs further than her UAE
Oaks dominance, over a distance which many bloodstock experts believe will see
the three year old perform to her most exceptional best.
A half sister to Prix
de Diane winner West Wind, if Ihtimal can indeed reign supreme in the Epsom
Classic, she will provide Sheikh Mohammed and his Godolphin operation with
their first Epsom Classic since their familiar royal blue silks took over from
Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley-owned maroon and white silks.