Below is our analysis for the eighth night of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival, led by the UAE Oaks (G3) and Zabeel Mile (G2). Last year’s Zabeel Mile winner Trade Storm defends his title while Mushreq hopes for a cleaner trip. In the Oaks, Ihtimal seems untouchable if she delivers her similar UAE 1,000 Guineas effort.
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Race 1 – $120,000 SMKA Trophy Handicap (Rated 100-110) – 1,400 metres, Tapeta
The pace could be tricky in a highly-competitive, if relatively short field.
#5 MODERN HISTORY almost always goes forward, and #2 RUTLAND BOY is known for that as well. The former has been away for a surprising seven weeks after a solid first-run, and the latter gone for more than a year, now with a new conditioner. Rutland Boy had three on the bounce here in 2012, but those races were in lesser company. This field is far from the toughest, and he makes his debut for trainer Michael Bell. His third in the Maktoum Challenge – R1 (G3) last year was solid, beaten just two lengths.
#7 MY FREEDOM was sent forward last time out, and the pace was far from strong, but they quickened well, and the form has emerged in good order, with Eastern Rules backing-up with a win last week. If they really burn on the lead, #1 TAMAATHUL could pick up the pieces. He’s been crying out for 1,400 metres and just missed a placing over shorter in the Mahab Al Shimaal (G3).
#4 KANAF gets a class test today, back on the Meydan all-weather for just the third time in his career.
1st – #7 MY FREEDOM, 2nd – #5 MODERN HISTORY, 3rd – #1 TAMAATHUL
Race 2 – $150,000 Swaidan Trading Heavy Equipment Division Trophy Handicap (Rated 95+) – 1,200 metres – Tapeta
#4 ZEE BROS has one mission – go forward and try to see it out. The problem is we would expect #7 CONVEYANCE to do the same thing, and reports are he has been working incredibly well at home after given a long break. #8 MUJAAZEF could go forward too, and that’s what #2 MERHEE did on his local debut on the Tapeta. #1 ABU SIDRA has done it too.
The freshness with Merhee likely contributed to his running forward first-up, and while expecting him to have improved last time, that performance was almost too dull to be believed. We rate him another chance provided he settles just off the pace.
#6 MEDICEAN MAN is rated eleven pounds lower on the all-weather than he is on grass, where he was a winner here last week. He’s now third off the layoff and clearly gets on well in Dubai. His last all-weather win came the day before the first Dubai World Cup at Meydan, so it’s been a while. The old boy is in cracking form, and should get something to run at with this group.
The pick is #10 LEHAAF, who gets a very legitimate pace to run into, and an ideal setup. He was in the mix when Zain Shamardal won on the second night of the Carnival, and fairly game in defeat on the grass. The overall pace is just too much to ignore that it should setup well for the son of Excellent Art.
1st – #10 LEHAAF, 2nd – #6 MEDICEAN MAN, 3rd – #2 MERHEE
Race 3 – $125,000 Meydan Classic sponsored by Swaidan Trading Automotive Division (Listed) – 1,400 metres – Turf
Given the way they’ve both run this campaign, both #4 MY CATCH and #6 MAKE IT REEL almost have to go forward, with our edge of this pair going to the latter. They both would seem to ensure a solid pace, though, and it could do them in. The setup, you would think, will greatly benefit #1 WEDNAAN, who ran quite credibly in his second lifetime start when third behind Long John.
You have to think #8 DOLCE N KARAMA is well within the range of the possible, getting back on grass, and going second-up. He was put into the deep end of the pool at Doncaster late in 2013, is still a maiden (this race has been won by a maiden before), and was interminably wide last time. He has a decent draw here and is impossible to ignore.
#2 JALLOTA seemed quite exposed off 11 juvenile starts, but gets back on grass and surely class relief. His back form from 2013 makes him very competitive here. #10 NAJM SUHAIL’s three-length defeat tat the hands of Al Razi was very respectable two back, and put in a strong third in the prep for this. He deserves a shout as well.
1st – #1 WEDNAAN, 2nd – #8 DOLCE N KARAMA, 3rd – #2 JALLOTA
Race 4 – $250,000 UAE Oaks, sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G3) – 1,900 metres – Tapeta
Every filly in this spot is emerging from the same race. As such, it’s impossible to ignore the form we know. While #7 MENSOORA and #5 FEEDYAH are eligible to move forward over some more ground, also the case for #6 MAGROOMA, you just cannot get away from what we’ve seen from #2 IHTIMAL. Nothing creative here.
1st – #2 IHTIMAL, 2nd – #7 MENSOORA, 3rd – #5 FEEDYAH
Race 5 – $250,000 Zabeel Mile sponsored by Al Naboodah MEP & Engineering Group (G2) – 1,600 metres – Turf
#3 TRADE STORM is the defending champion. He was listless on his local debut last year and improved leaps and bounds before reeling off two consecutive, including this race. The problem is that Trade Storm has never come close to capturing those two races from here last year since, and he emerged into the 2013 Carnival fairly exposed. The 6-year-old has to prove it to us that he still has it.
#8 ANAEROBIO and #6 MSHAWISH were one-two in the Al Fahidi Fort (G2) over 1,400 metres, and the former tailed off last week when ridden by Pat Cosgrave over that same trip. Soumillon is back aboard, but he’s obviously the stable’s top choice here. In that Al Fahidi Fort, Anaerobio and Mshawish sat perfect trips and were in a line with the latter likely to get the former if the race were longer. Now, they both get the 1,600 metres, and you have to prefer Mshawish.
The twist in the mix is #5 MUSHREQ, who took the Singspiel Stakes before a strong second in the Al Rashidiya (G2) when knocked off by stable companion Mujaarib, who ran back a decent third last week when pace compromised. He won the Al Fahidi Fort last year when it was run later in the Carnival, over this trip, so the it’s well within his range. The Singspiel win over #4 GABRIAL keeps him in better opinion, too. Mushreq also ran into some traffic trouble last time, and should not be ignored for it.
#2 EDU QUERIDO put forth a strong effort first-up last time and looked to have a winning chance with about 300 metres to run, even hitting the front at one point. He seems the real wild-card of the race and is not to be ignored at a good price.
1st – #5 MUSHREQ, 2nd – #6 MSHAWISH, 3rd – #2 EDU QUERIDO
Race 6 – $120,000 Al Naboodah Cargo Centre Trophy Handicap (Rated 100-110) – 2,200 metres – Tapeta
Many in this spot seem to have decent chances.
We’ve seen two decent runs from #3 ENERGIA DAVOS this meet, third on both occasions, including one at this trip. He had a clearer run than #10 WINTERLUDE did last time they met, when behind Sanshaawes.
#9 THA’IR ran forward on that occasion, and was planted very deep, covering a trip wider than the winner in his first try on the all-weather. That was encouraging, but he seemed to show some tiring in the latter stages, now going third up over a longer trip.
It was a very quick race for #1 ALEXANDRA PALACE last week, as he settled much closer to the hot tempo than when he won on his local debut. He does have top weight now, which is an obvious detriment, but should enjoy chasing the pace as opposed to sitting right off it. He’s never gone this far before, but there really aren’t other options for him at the Carnival, so this is it.
Our edge goes to Energia Davos, who has been knocking on the door against some decent company and is hardly put out by the handicapper because of it. This is a legitimate spot for him and the way in which he ran on going 2,200 metres earlier in the Carnival was encouraging enough.
1st – #3 ENERGIA DAVOS, 2nd – #1 ALEXANDRA PALACE, 3rd – #10 WINTERLUDE
2013-14 UAE season-to-date: 253 races – 63 first, 27 second, 21 third (24.8% win)