Damian Lane continued his successful partnership with Japanese-trained horses when piloting Crown Pride to a cosy two- and three-quarter length victory in the Group 2 UAE Derby, to hand the powerful Far Eastern nation a third victory at Meydan last evening.
Lane, who rode Japan’s Mer De Glace and Lys Gracieux in their respective Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate wins, was all class aboard the Koichi Shintani-trained on of Reach For You,
The Bhupat Seemar-trained Summer Is Tomorrow made the early running and was travelling strongly as the field straightened for the run to judge but
At the furlong marker, Summer Is Tomorrow and Michael Barzalona looked a winner, but Crown Pride found an extra gear to sprint clear for a two and three-quarter length victory.
Island Falcon finished third for Pat Cosgrave and Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor, a length further back.
It was a third success for Japan after Bathrat Leon and Stay Foolish had won earlier.
Lane, who has ridden close to 1,300 career wins, said: “He stepped out okay but didn’t travel too well thereafter and it just took a little bit to get him in a rhythm and get him going.
“I got crowded a little early but as I say he was able to stride through and take up position and it was plain sailing from there really.
He said, “I was confident a long way out and although he made hard work of it in the straight, ultimately, he was the toughest out there. He’s a strong, tough horse and saw the distance out well.” He added, “Whenever you jump aboard (a Japanese-trained horse) you can be confident they’re going to be strong and they’re going to run well and it’s just a privilege to be a part of it.”
Seemar paid tribute to Summer Is Tomorrow. “This horse eats well, trains well, sleeps well – he is the perfect horse to have for any owner or trainer.
“Maybe we should have gone to the Guineas first and if he had a little bit of a longer race in him, he would have finished a little closer,” he said.
He added, “The furthest he’d gone before today was seven furlongs (1400m), but he’d shown so much natural speed. At least we have a good horse for next year.”
Seemar, who has had a dream season in the UAE where he comfortably leads the trainer’s championship, continues to dream big. He said: “I’d consider the Kentucky Derby, but I’d have to see if he’s nominated or not first. That’s the biggest thing. Why not though?
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“There were some good horses behind him, a couple of Grade 1 horses from America, so now that he’s had that run, I think we’d have to think about it.”
Seemar also saddled fourth placed Bendoog who looks a nice horse for the future. He said, “very happy with his run, he just got on the rail, and he got a lot of kickback but he’s an immature horse and he ran one hell of a race.”
Jockey Tadhg O’Shea said: “He’s a big shell of a horse and ran very well. He enjoyed a lovely trip around the inside, and he drafted off the winner. He’s a big horse and next year when he fills that big frame, there will be more to come.”