Race 2 – $1,000,000 Godolphin Mile (G2), sponsored by Etisalat, 1,600 metres, All-weather
So what is the biggest question to reconcile in finding the winner for this race?
We see it in two parts: how does #13 SOFT FALLING RAIN stack up to older rivals, and what is the likely pace scenario. In the history of this race, the Godolphin Mile has never had a 3-year-old take a spot in the gate. He was champion 2-year-old in South Africa, and unbeaten in a career that saw him add on two more wins in the UAE. Trainer Mike de Kock always thought he would have distance limitations, so put him away after his UAE 2,000 Guineas (G3) triumph and aimed for this spot. For a horse with questions, he didn’t exactly get a plum draw, but major speed presence #12 CAPITAL ATTRACTION is drawn to his inside.
The horse, and the value, is with #6 SURFER. Dropping back from races at 1,900 and 2,000 metres, the Satish Seemar trainee has sat wide in many races and finally gets both a good draw and the cutback that probably suits him best. In both of those last two starts over longer, Surfer did his best running in the 1,600 metres, and actually covered more ground than his margins of defeat to the early favourite for the world’s richest horse race. That makes him a massive ante-post overlay on the European markets, and an incredibly likely chance in this race.
If #15 MOONWALK IN PARIS drew better, he’d be a likely pick, but we just don’t see Ahmad Ajtebi being patient enough to find his way inside, drop out the back and make one run and hope for the splits. That being said, it IS possible that happens. His Firebreak Stakes win was impressive and he stayed on well despite being run in a spot that was not his best in the Burj Nahaar. He has the look, slightly, of a horse like Calming Influence, who disappointed in his last prep before being the first trained winner by Mahmood Al Zarooni, all happening in the Godolphin Mile of 2010.
You just cannot give up on #16 BARBECUE EDDIE, and Pat Dobbs is likely to give this guy the ride of his life. Surely, he’ll end up wide, but it might allow him to settle off the pace to a greater extent, get a run into the race, and go on with it. He wasn’t the most fluid into stride in earlier races this season and settled well out of it, and frankly, it seems the tactic to try here. Overall, he had a bad race last time, but really think there are plenty of excuses. This is not a tough field, it’s just a well-balanced field, and he has a definite chance if he runs back to his Maktoum Challenge – Round 1 (G3) win.
Longshot chances for a place include #10 HAATHEQ and #14 SAAMIDD.
1st – #6 SURFER, 2nd – #13 SOFT FALLING RAIN, 3rd – #16 BARBECUE EDDIE