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Sep 19, 2014

Sheikhzayedroad invades and captures Northern Dancer Stakes


Toronto, ON ( - Overseas invader Sheikhzayedroad barreled through the inside to win Sunday's $300,000 Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine.

Sheikhzayedroad, the 3-1 second pick in the nine-horse field, trailed the field through the early going of the 1 1/2-mile turf stakes over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor turf course. Setting the pace was 11-1 longshot Reporting Star with defending winner Forte Dei Marmi, at 42-1, right behind and 6-5 favorite The Pizza Man running fourth.

Ridden by Martin Lane, Sheikhzayedroad began to advance along the rail on the final turn and reached the leaders coming down the stretch. The 5-year-old gelding, trained by David Simcock, bulled his way through the inside approaching the finish.

Sheikhzayedroad took the lead yards before the wire, but came out and bumped second-place finisher Dynamic Sky and third-place horse Reporting Star. A claim of foul was lodged against Sheikhzayedroad, but the stewards kept the gelding up for the victory. The final margin of victory was a half-length.

"Really pleased, lovely race to win," said Simcock. "He is a grand horse and tries really hard. He has his quirks. He runs about a bit, but that's normal for him. He did a lot worse when he was a younger horse, I assure you, and he never wins by far. He thinks he's done enough once he's got there. He's terrific. He's a traveler. He loves going to different places, Dubai, here and he'll go elsewhere in the future."

Completing the order of finish were Villandry, The Pizza Man, Aldous Snow, Perfect Timber, Karibu Gardens and Forte Dei Marmi.

The time for the Northern Dancer was 2:32.37 on a good turf course.

Owned and bred by Rabbah Bloodstock, Sheikhzayedroad earned $180,000 with the win, his third straight this year. The 5-year-old has won eight of 21 career starts for $519,610.

Sheikhzayedroad began the year at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai with a win in January after a four month vacation. Following four starts at Meydan with just the one victory the gelding posted a second and two wins in Great Britain.

"We've got an option of the (Pattison Canadian) International (at Woodbine) on the 19th (of October)," Simcock said. "He's got an entry the same day at Ascot. I'll speak to his owner and decide where he is going. We'll either come back here or go to Ascot and then he'll go to Dubai and start his travels again."

Sheikhzayedroad returned $8.30, $4.90 and $4.10. Dynamic Sky paid $17.00 and $10.40, and Reporting Star paid $7.20 to show.

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