Bennett Racings Italian Derby winner Ardakan was fantastic in his seasonal debut on Saturday in the 140k Aud Al Kahil Trophy Listed at Meydan. Having his first start for trainer Marco Botti, Ardakan was 1st up in the 2800m Listed race having not raced since his 4th place in the 1mil Aqueduct Invitational Derby on 17th September last year.
Champion jockey James Doyle took the reins on the handsome grey colt and after jumping well settled him 3 back on the rails. The speed was ok and the colt looked comfortable on the lush Meydan turf, travelling well under James throughout the run. On straightening, James eased him out to challenge, hitting the front briefly but the colts condition ran out in the last 100m. James thought although he came to the end of his run, the colt was still strong to the line and felt he needed to be carted up to field later.
Ardakan had been working well up to the race and Marco was very pleased with his effort noting he would gain good fitness from the run.
First up after 4 months and out to a 2800m trip is something we are not accustomed to here in Australia but it is a normal practice with European trainers as they condition their horses with long slow pace work.
Ardakan showed that the distance range was no issue and the colt looks right on target for the $2.5 million Longines Red Sea Turf Handicap (G3) 3000m in Saudi Arabia which will be his next run.
Already a valuable colt, the son of Champion Reliable Man was a winner of the Gr2 Italian Derby before being a private purchase for Bennett Racing. Syndicated out within days of his purchase Ardakan has some lofty targets ahead of him including a possible trip to Royal Ascot this year.
Well done to all Ardakans owners its such a thrill to race on the International stage and even more so with a very good 3rd in Dubai.