No place quite like Newmarket for Mutasaabeq

Mutasaabeq continued his love affair with Newmarket and provided trainer Charlie Hills with a nice birthday present by winning the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Joel Stakes for the second straight season.

He put in a brave front-running performance to land the Group Two contest over a mile, which made it five wins from six outings at this course.

Jim Crowley made all on the son of Invincible Spirit to prevail by three-quarters of a length last year, but connections had to endure a tighter finish this term.

Regal Reality threw down a fierce challenge throughout the final furlong but 11-4 favourite Mutasaabeq kept on well enough to oblige by a head, with Chindit half a length further back in third.

“He seems to love it here. It is horses for courses, and he has got a tremendous record at the Rowley Mile and Jim has given him a good ride there,” said Hills.

“I thought he toughed it out well in the end. He has been a good horse over the years, and he has won three Group Twos now. Birthday winners are good, but I’ve not really had many.

“He is not frustrating, but I think when he wins he puts a lot into it and he can’t put too many races together, although he is a little bit older now, and a bit stronger.

“When he won here as a three-year-old he looked unbeatable and he went off not far off favourite for the 2000 Guineas just off winning a conditions race.

“He has been pretty sound through his career, but he has not had too many chances at Group One level. However, I’ve always felt he is up to it.”

A trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup could be on the agenda.

Hills added: “He has been a pleasure to train and we will see where we go next. I will speak to Angus (Gold, racing manager) and Sheikha Hissa.

“Whether we have a look at America for the mile there that could be an option. We will certainly think about it. What do you do with a horse that has won three Group Twos. He is a good miler, and he likes fast ground. I’m sure he will handle the trip.

“He only needs to improve a couple of lengths with the travel and the conditions and you never quite know. A track like this the mile tests his stamina, but a two-turn mile (like the one at Santa Anita) will suit him ideally.”

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