Below is our analysis for the sixth night of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival. Half of this card offers group-level stakes action, so let’s waste no time in getting into it.
Race 1 – $110,000 Ford F-150 Raptor Trophy Handicap (Rated 95-105), 2,000 metres – Tapeta
#8 SANSHAAWES was well-supported on his debut going 1,800 metres and kept coming at the end while never getting to Gabrial, El Estruendoso, and the like. Both of those runners come back in a salty third race. He should come on for that last run and gets some extra ground to cover in arguably an easier spot. With a lack of pace, on paper, he might go a bit closer than he did first-up, and is reported to be going very well over the all-weather.
#14 PLANTAGENET had a bit of a crazy run last time and is now drawn well and in the very capable and patient hands of William Buick. He’s done it here before.
#6 AUDITOR was behind Sanshaawes and friends last time, and really didn’t get the opportunity to do much running from mid-pack. He does have tactical speed, and they’d be best suited to let Thierry Thulliez take him to the front and try to dictate the tempo off his wide draw. There isn’t too much speed in the race, so whoever goes forward could land a tactical advantage. A back win on all-weather doesn’t hurt his chances. Similarly, #5 THA’IR could show some prominence, but also has a wide gate to contend with. Drawn just outside Auditor, both could go on with it. It is possible that leads to a more frenetic early gallop than what appears on paper as the first-turn scramble comes quickly.
1st – #8 SANSHAAWES, 2nd – #14 PLANTAGENET, 3rd – #6 AUDITOR
Race 2 – $250,000 UAE 2,000 Guineas sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G3), 1,600 metres – Tapeta
There is often a great deal of handicapping based on some rather mundane, but allegedly telling items: Godolphin cap colours and promotions or demotions based on owners’ silks. This race will send the crazies into an uproar, as the first two finishers from the UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial, #10 EMIRATES FLYER and #1 SAFETY CHECK both wore Godolphin blue last time, and are now registered in the name of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mohammed’s son. Getting the first-team promotion are a pair of Australian imports from the Darley operation there, #3 PAXIMADIA and #6 LONG JOHN. More on them later.
#7 MY CATCH is going to the front, there should really be no doubt about that. The pace should be true. He blazed away on the front-end in times that were faster than standard and hung around to finish third. Connections are going to hope for a similar result and see what comes of it. He was very game, and came back on the winners at the end. He’ll try and see it out yet again. The trainer and jockey almost pulled the upset in the Meydan Classic Trial last week when 50-1+ Make It Reel led virtually the entire way in there, staying on valiantly. He is in with a chance.
Long John won the Caulfield Guineas (G1), where he defeated Shamus Award, and then both came back in the Cox Plate (G1) at Moonee Valley against older horses, and Shamus Award landed a shock victory when still a maiden. Long John was almost seven lengths behind him. Five from eight on grass, this is his first try over anything other than grass. He’s well raced and has faced better company than anyone else in the field. But he has a big question mark over his head.
Paximadia won the Sandown Guineas (G2) over this trip last time when the favourite. He goes forward and was in a ding-dong battle from the break with Equator in that feature race last out. There just wasn’t much movement in that race, and it makes us question the real quality of the competition. Like his stablemate, of course, he comes with concerns over the surface, the ship, etc.
Emirates Flyer bested Safety Check last time, but we really like Safety Check a bit more off a stop-start race. He broke running and was wrangled off the lead
It took #11 FULL COMBAT a while to realize what it was all about. He was really one of the first to be shoved along by Paul Hanagan in the trial for this race, and kicked-in late in the race, recording the fastest final 200 metres of the race. It was always reported by connections that he would appreciate more ground, and expecting typical second-up improvement yet again, he requires strong consideration.
#4 JOURNEYMAN was far from disgraced by He’s No Saint in the Meydan Classic Trial, and remains a difficult horse to train from all accounts. Will he step forward third off the layoff? It’s not out of the realm of the possible, we just can’t support it. Only the eighth place finishers from #5 WEDNAAN’s maiden victory has come back to win, and he did it twice. The rest of his seven rivals in that race are 0-for-since. He’s going to look like the first-stringer with Soumillon aboard, but don’t forget Paul Hanagan is contracted to the owner for his mount. Another of the Mike de Kock lot, #2 JALLOTA, is incredibly well-raced and has kept some decent company without too much success in the Europe.
A fascinating renewal of this race, and we choose to go with Full Combat on top.
1st – #11 FULL COMBAT, 2nd – #6 LONG JOHN, 3rd – #1 SAFETY CHECK
Race 3 – $175,000 Ford Taurus Trophy Handicap (Rated 100+), 1,800 metres – Turf
#6 VERCINGETORIX was champion 3-year-old from South Africa last season, and is still unbeaten. He was reported to have traveled worst of the lot, hence a later debut, but on his best, he is well-involved in the mix. We have to wait and see how he goes before a strong opinion.
#4 GABRIAL will have to work out a trip off a draw in 13. He normally goes back in the pack, but it could be slightly tougher if he breaks with the group. He’s a winner and a second here, and others around him in those races have done just fine too, and that includes #10 EL ESTRUENDOSO. That gelding seemed well set for a win last week when caught by Mont Ras in the final stages.
#3 AL WAAB is interesting in that he is likely to race forward and secure a good position just off the speed which could be #1 GALE FORCE TEN. It’s a bit tough to tell how all these de Kock runners will fare, which includes #5 MICKDAAM off the long layoff.
Improvement from #12 SO BEAUTIFUL is not out of the real of possibility. He didn’t bleed last time, his first start since being gelded, leaving connections scratching their heads. He could find his touch again.
The form is just so exposed on Gabrial, that it’s impossible not to pick him in this field.
1st – #4 GABRIAL, 2nd – #10 EL ESTRUENDOSO, 3rd – #3 AL WAAB
Race 4 – $200,000 Firebreak Stakes sponsored by Ford Explorer Sport (G3), 1,600 metres – Tapeta
Say what you want about the South African quarantine, but #5 VARIETY CLUB is a two-time South African Horse of the Year, and a winner of 14 of his 19 lifetime starts. Every time he has run off a layoff of around three months or more, he’s won. He’s 8-from-9 at the distance. Joey Ramsden has overseen his conditioning from afar while stabled with the South Africans in Mike de Kock’s yard. He catches a smaller field and his toughest competition on paper comes from stable companion #3 MARS, who might be better over a longer trip.
#9 CAPITAL ATTRACTION was third after the first 400 metres of his last race according to Trakus. The horses who were first, second, and fourth finished 14th, 16th, and 15th, but Capital Attraction finished held on gamely and finished third. He showed improvement off his first run, and comes back into a spot that is not crazy tough. Horses to run in that spot have come back in decent nick. Mont Ras couldn’t go the early pace but came back to win on grass last week, besting El Estruendoso, while Disa Leader, fourth in that race, was third last week behind Mont Ras.
#7 FULBRIGHT gets into a nice spot given his like of the Tapeta but still faces tougher company. His win has been franked twice, by Jamesie and Mont Ras.
1st – #5 VARIETY CLUB, 2nd – #3 MARS, 3rd – #9 CAPITAL ATTRACTION
Race 5 – $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint sponsored by Ford Mustang Shelby (G3), 1,200 metres – Tapeta
None of the locally-based sprinters are invincible, and many of the international Carnival runners are good, and put forth decent efforts with regularity, but they fail to really get us that excited. #3 UNITED COLOR was our selection in the Dubawi, and he has to be a legitimate chance again on Thursday. His inside draw might be slightly troubling as he has run well out in the clear. James Doyle had him very positioned for an attack off a pace that was far from thrilling last time.
#13 RUSSIAN SOUL was a good second behind United Color, and now had a wide draw that leaves a question mark as to how he will be ridden in this spot. He has four seconds from six UAE starts, is he going to get the win drawn in 13? With a bigger field, it’s almost impossible to think the pace will be as slow as it was in the Dubawi, so advantage goes to the repeating chances.
What would’ve happened if #12 RAFEEJ was given his head last time? We think he might have been closer and in with a better chance. As it was, Paul Hanagan kept reining him in and probably zapped some of his energy as a result. Wayne Smith gets the ride this time with Hanagan choosing to ride #6 TAMAATHUL, who surprised us going on grass in the Al Fahidi Fort.
With no all-weather form, or real comparative form, it’s almost impossible to consider the Australian shippers for Godolphin with any meaningful perspective.
1st – #3 UNITED COLOR, 2nd – #13 RUSSIAN SOUL, 3rd – #6 TAMAATHUL
Race 6 – $175,000 Ford Edge Sport Trophy Handicap (Rated 100+), 2,435 metres – Turf
We continue to have some doubts about the form from #3 SHEIKHZAYEDROAD’s win, and the performance of #13 AUSSIE REIGNS on his comebacker helped prove that to us even more.
#11 DORMELLO had a wide run last time, covering 14 metres more than winner Certerach, and it came along with a premature move too. There really seemed no reason to send Dormello onward, hitting the front with about 500 metres to run, but he did, and flattened out. He seems to have a good one in him, but we haven’t seen it yet. Overall, he averaged a speed of 58.3 KPH, which was the same as the winner last time. A more patient ride could yield an improved result, especially with the weight break over his last start.
Meanwhile, #9 TOPCLAS also covered plenty of ground last time, slightly more than Dormello, but was ridden in a more patient manner by Adrie de Vries, and nearly pulled the upset. Given how well the winner from that race, Certerach, and Excellent Result, who was fourth, came back to run last week, both of these get our top consideration.
There is a meaningful amount of pace in this race, and #1 MEANDRE finds class relief, should strip fitter for his last race, and will likely be ridden from off the pace. Ralston Road, the horse who won against him last time, came back to run a very credible fourth last week over an extended turf trip, so the form is not lacking.
The pace is likely to come from #10 VASILY, who will go forward and hope to see it out. He’s been game in the past and digging in when you think he’s likely to backpedal a long way, but doesn’t. #8 DABADIYAN seems likely to improve over more ground, and the connections have been performing at their best this stand.
1st – #11 DORMELLO, 2nd – #9 TOPCLAS, 3rd – #1 MEANDRE
2013-14 UAE season-to-date: 212 races, 51 first, 26 second, 18 third (24% winners)