sport

Aussie import delights in Dubai

Australian import Long John looks bound for the UAE Derby after a scintillating display in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan.

Winner of the Caulfield Guineas in October when carrying Sheikh Mohammed's colours, the Godolphin-owned gelding burst clear of his rivals with a blistering turn of foot on the turn for home.

Taking several lengths out of the field in a matter of strides under Mickael Barzalona, Long John (7-4 favourite) ran out an emphatic winner for trainer Charlie Appleby in his first race since leaving Peter Snowden after running in the Cox Plate.

He stormed past the line four and a quarter lengths clear of the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Emirates Flyer, with Wednaan a further length and a quarter back in third.

"I must give Peter Snowden's team a big thank you. They gave us a lot of information about the horse and they were 100 per cent spot on," Appleby said.

"The decision where we go next will be made by Sheikh Mohammed and Simon Crisford (racing manager), but I see no reason why we shouldn't head on to the UAE Derby. I can't see 10 furlongs being a problem on that evidence."

Godolphin enjoyed another success with the six-year-old Songcraft (9-1), trained by Bin Suroor, in the Ford Edge Sport Trophy Handicap.

Silvestre de Sousa's mount got the better of Meandre by a length and a quarter with Sheikhzayedroad third for David Simcock.

Russian Soul (15-2) came from off the pace to claim the Group Three Al Shindagha Sprint for trainer Michael Halford.

Shane Foley brought the six-year-old with a perfect run to lead a furlong and a half out and hold David Marnane's Jamesie by a length as Irish raiders grabbed the first two places in the six-furlong contest.

Halford said: "It was a very good performance from a wide draw and carrying a kilo more than the others.

"He's as tough as nails, he improves with his racing and he is certainly going the right way.

"He'll run on Super Saturday and then he'll go for the Golden Shaheen."

Dual South African horse of the year Variety Act (evens favourite) looked a class act with an all-the-way win in the Group Three Firebreak Stakes sponsored by Ford Explorer Sport.

Despite sweating profusely beforehand, Joey Ramsden's six-year-old settled beautifully for Anton Marcus at the head of affairs and brushed his rivals aside to score by two lengths from Haatheq.

Empire Storm, trained by Michael Attwater, ran a tremendous race to take third, three lengths away while the former Aidan O'Brien-trained Mars never figured.

Ramsden said: "It's a reasonable field and he's done it nicely after a eight-month break, so I'm very proud of him.

"I've always thought he might be a better horse coming from off the pace. A mile appears to be his best trip but he'll go a bit further. He's been a star.

"We're going to do something on Super Saturday and we'll probably do a mile and a furlong on the turf."

Another South African star Vercingetorix (5-2 favourite) maintained his unbeaten record when holding on for victory in the Ford Tauris Trophy Handicap.

The five-year-old, who had not run for 257 days, led a furlong from the finish and was all out to hold the former Hendy Candy inmate Code Of Honor by half a length with Forjatt just a nose back in third.

"I'm relieved more than anything else. He didn't travel over well but class prevailed at the end of the day," said trainer Mike de Kock.

"He's a horse we'd like to aim at the Duty Free."

De Kock and jockey Christophe Soumillon had earlier struck with Sanshaawes (4-1) in the Ford F-150 Raptor Trophy Handicap.