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Deryan sets new track record
Dubai Kahayla Classic (Gr1PA)
Deryan and Ioritz Mendizabal win the 2021 Dubai Kahayla Classic from AF Alwajel and Tadhg O'Shea ©DRC
There may have been a greatly reduced audience due to the Covid restrictions, but the victory of Deryan in the Dubai Kahayla Classic was a huge performance breaking the track record to win in a time of 2.11.87.

This year’s Kahayla looked a vintage renewal with the winners of nine Group 1 PA races in the field of 13. Strongly fancied were the Saudi raiders, Mubasher Al Khalediah and Mutawakel Al Khalediah, who had finished first and second in the Obaiya Classic, five weeks earlier. In that race Deryan had shown up well before fading to fifth, leading some to question his abilities on Dirt, despite winning a local Group 3 on that surface in Morocco over 100m less in 2019.

Another with questions to answer was AF Alwajel, a Group winning sprinter owned and bred by Khalid Al Nabooda, trained by Ernst Oertel and ridden by Tadhg O’Shea. Having been five lengths third behind Brraq in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on his first attempt at 2000m, many considered him a non-stayer. 

In both cases, the judges were wrong. AF Alwajel showed his brilliant speed, jumping smartly from the gate, and making full use of his number one draw. O’Shea soon had him in front and, in manner of his previous win for connections on AF Maher in 2019, he looked like he would stay there. He very nearly did. 

However, Deryan, partnered by Ioritz Mendizabal, was cruising on the bridle behind them in the final stages. The only concern as they drew level, was that the horse might stop. He certainly looked hesitant to go past for a stride and even when in front, AF Alwajel was able to claw back some of that lead, to finish three quarters of a length behind at the line.
Deryan and Clemence Guillemin during trackwork at Meydan during the week © Mathea Kelley/DRC
After Deryan’s first, and some might consider, long overdue, Group 1PA win in Deauville last year, YAS Racing’s French manager Thierry Delegue had admitted that the fear was always that he would stop once in the lead. He had done so before. Mendizabal, who was in the plate that day too, certainly has the horse’s measure. Also aided by a very large pair of blinkers, which he has worn since losing Deauville’s Al Rayyan Cup by a neck to Marid in 2018.

Over three lengths behind at Meydan in third was Mubasher Al Kahalediah. Whether the Obaiya had taken its’ toll, or the fact that not all dirt surfaces are equal, remains to be seen, but Deryan was certainly the best horse on the day in Dubai.

“He did it really well this time,” said winning trainer Didier Guillemin, who was wining the Kahayla for the first time, but had lifted the Al Quoz Sprint with The Right Man in 2017. “He was quite nervous last time when he ran in Riyadh. This time, he was much calmer and we rode him differently, a little further back. I’m extremely proud to win a Group 1 here and to win it for owner Sheikh Mansoor is just amazing.”

It was also a first win in the race for Mendizabal who said: “Last time in Riyadh, I was outside and he didn’t gallop and relax. Today I spoke to the trainer and he said it was important, after (leaving) the gate to stop him and relax behind horses. He galloped and relaxed and after the first corner, I was in the (right spot). Turning (into the straight), I knew I would win."

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan is not only the owner, but also the breeder and wins this race for the second time after Rabbah De Carrère in 2014. A product of his Wathba Stud breeding, Deryan is the second Kahayla Classic winner to be sired by Mahabb, after Manark in 2015. Deryan’s dam Haboob, is a daughter of Akbar and won on her debut over 1500m in France. She was placed behind Gabra in the Qatar French Arabian Breeder’s Cup for three-year-old fillies over 2000m at ParisLongchamp in 2007. Deryan is her sixth, and most successful produce, a full-brother to 2018 UAE President Cup – Coupe Des Europe des Chevaux Arabes (Gr1PA) winner Shahm.
Watch DERYAN(FR) (2015 ch h Mahabb x Haboob) win the Dubai Kahayla Classic (GrPA) 2000m
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