The ultra-consistent Matterhorn (5h Raven’s Pass – Tanaghum, by Darshaan) produced a career-best performance to capture the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan’s Super Saturday meeting.
The Barronstown Stud-bred bay was previously trained by Mark Johnston, for whom he won a Listed contest and the valuable Easter Classic, before moving to the Salem bin Ghadayer. Having finished third in a Group 3 on his first run on dirt last month, he was ridden to lead by Mickael Barzalona and began to draw clear from three furlongs out, running home strongly to win by five and a half lengths, with impressive ease.
The winning jockey said after the race, “He ran well last time and has improved a lot since. It took him a little bit of time to understand how we work on the dirt but he was very pleasing today, even if he didn’t do everything in the right way. But it’s not easy to win a Group 1 like that on only your second start on dirt. He will need to improve again to win the World Cup but it was only his second start on the surface so I think he can progress further.”
The Dubai World Cup is now on the agenda for Matterhorn, who runs in the colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. The son of Raven’s Pass is a half-brother to recent Winter Derby Trial victor Bangkok.