Le Bernadin returned to the scene of his victory a year ago as he swept in the final furlong and ran out a decisive winner of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 Presented by Elegance in Equestrian at Meydan.

A field of ten lined-up for this valuable prize, contested over a mile of the Meydan dirt track, with plenty of familiar Carnival names, including last year’s outstanding filly Polar River and the intriguing prospect of Emotionless making his dirt debut.

At the off it was Le Bernadin and Frankyfourfingers who broke well with Munaaser, but Tadhg O’Shea pulled the former back and bided his time.

Settling down, Frankyfourfingers went on from Long River to the outside with Munaaser and then Cool Cowboy, while Emotionless raced wide and Polar River sat last.

Turning into the straight, a line of three fought for the lead, with Long River going on from Cool Cowboy, but O’Shea was soon back on the premises and on the outside Le Bernadin stormed into the lead.

Le Bernadin stretched well clear in the final half a furlong and passed the post with an uncontested lead, comfortably beating Long River and  Lindo Amor, who plugged on well against the inside rail, with Gold City staying on in fourth.

Emotionless proved a bitter disappointment, failing to pick up and coming home a one-paced sixth, while the filly Polar River was another who failed to figure.