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JJ The Jet Plane warmed up for the big sprint on Dubai World Cup night later this month when outclassing his rivals in the Finest Surprise Handicap at Meydan.

The South African speedster was more like his old self back on turf after disappointing on the Tapeta surface last month, and will now head for the Al Quoz Sprint.

Giving at least a stone (6.5kg) to his rivals, the 2-1 favourite was always up on the pace in the six-furlong (1200m) dash and found an extra gear in the closing stages despite veering from the far rail towards the stands side under Bernard Fayd’herbe.

He had far too much zip for John Ryan’s Iver Bridge Lad, who was a creditable length and three-quarters away in second, with Green Beret third.

“Last time he was very heavy and I was desperate to get the weight off him,” trainer Michael Houdalakis said.

“His weight was better and it was more like the JJ we know. I’m very relieved.

“I’ll keep him on the grass on World Cup night. Even though he’s a lot fitter than he was the other evening we’ll stay to what we know best.”

Frankie Dettori and the Godolphin team enjoyed further success, starting with Emirates Champion (7-4 fav) who led a furlong and a half (300m) out and went on to take the World Cup (Handicap) in tremendous style.

The five-year-old, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, strode clear of the pacemaking Mr Brock to score by 4-3/4 lengths.

“He won well, but the manner he won last time we thought he had a big chance,” Dettori said.

“He loves this surface and won in good style.”

Godolphin then completed a double thanks to an inspired ride by Dettori on Whispering Gallery to deny the frontrunning Bergo in the DRC Gold Cup.

Godolphin were soon back in the winner’s enclosure again when the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Rileyskeepingfaith claimed the Zabeel Mile.

Ahmed Ajtebi benefited from a generous pace initiated by Navajo Chief and Across The Rhine to convincingly win from Fareer and Fanunalter.

Rileyskeepingfaith, formerly trained by Mick Channon, was stepping up to a mile (1600m) for the first time in his career.

“We couldn’t find a race for him over the right trip, but we made the decision to run him over a mile and it worked,” Ajtebi said.

PA

 
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