Go Soldier Go forged to the front in the final strides of the $170,000 Listed Al Bastakiya S. on March 4 at Meydan Racecourse, winning the 1 3/16-mile contest for 3-year-olds by a head in a heart-stopping finish.
The chestnut son of Tapiture will now go on to the UAE Derby (G2) over the same track on March 25, possibly setting him up for a run in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in early May.
Breaking from post four in the 12-horse field, Go Soldier Go was near the back of the pack for the first six furlongs. With traffic trouble in front of him, he was forced four wide on the second bend and did manage to cut his deficit in half by the time he straightened for the stretch drive.
Go Soldier Go still had about five lengths to make up with a furlong to run. After switching to the correct lead, he showed a magnificent turn of foot and outfinished Mr Raj to win by a head in 1:58.91 on a fast track.
“He takes time to get going. Actually, he travelled okay but I was stuck behind a wall of horses who were beaten down the backside,” explained jockey Adrie de Vries. The front horses were getting further and further away but there was not much I could do about it. Once I got out in the clear, I had to rush him of course to make up so much ground, but once he’s out of the kickback, he has a beautiful stride and he keeps on going. He has a lot of stamina.”
The winner, trained by Fawzi A. Nass for the aptly-named owner Victorious, is 2-1-2 in five starts and has earned $133,238. Go Soldier Go was bred in Kentucky by Brandywine Farm.
As he has been the past four years at stud, Tapiture is once again in the top five among his generation, this year he currently has three stakes winners, five stakes horses and 31 individual winners of 35 races. He stands this year at Darby Dan for $7,500 S&N.