Below is our analysis for the fourth night of the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival, our first night with co-features as the Cape Verdi (G2) and Al Rashidiya (G2) lead the program.
CLICK HERE for access to the form guide, courtesy of the Emirates Racing Authority (click “download as PDF”).
CLICK HERE for access to the past performances (US-style), courtesy of AmWest Entertainment.
Race 1 – $110,000 Emirates Global Aluminium Handicap (Rated 95-105) – 1,900m – dirt
A fairly compelling opener gets the card started.
Charlie Appleby has two winners on turf this season and the pedigree of #1 ARTIGIANO suggests he should have no problem with the dirt. This guy is just a maiden winner, but has dabbled in some top company. He has shown speed in some of his starts, and tried to make all in the Singspiel last year before being collared by Mushreq.
#5 I’M BACK was very impressive in his debut performance, winning by a length over Henry Clay and having traveled quite wide throughout. They took his time getting him back (at least relatively speaking compared to some in the UAE) and won’t escape anyone on this occasion. He’s drawn the rail, and came out of a fairly productive race considering what Le Bernardin did following his being behind I’m Back. This guy is likely for a return to winner’s circle.
#2 STORM BELT really disappointed us last time after a disappointing fourth to Le Bernardin. There seems like a nice division of pace in this spot and while he has an inside draw, wouldn’t be surprised to see him go a bit closer and get outside of horses. He could bounce back in form.
We tipped #7 BUSKER last week and he disappointed, probably after racing too close. Now he adds blinkers and we really aren’t sure how it will impact him.
It has been wildly hit and miss in the career of #4 GROUNDBREAKING. His dam sire, Dubai Millennium was a Dubai World Cup winner in stylish fashion on dirt. He could go on this surface.
It’s a bit curious that #9 GIFTORM appears in this spot instead of the sprinting event on the card, but we were very impressed with his run first-up against Faulkner and next-out winner Tamarkuz. A slight move forward sees him in the frame, if not the winner’s enclosure, but we have some issues seeing him get the 1,900 metres. He could really be setup for a win on the drop back next time too.
1st – #2 STORM BELT, 2nd – #5 I’M BACK, 3rd – #7 BUSKER
Race 2 – $175,000 Emirates Global Aluminium Excellence Trophy Handicap (100+) – 1,000m – turf
Certainly this another plenty competitive heat over the straight course at the minimum distance with chances up and down the race card.
#1 MEDICEAN MAN is now nine, but being eight last year didn’t stop him from nearly winning first up in this same spot, and off a similar rating. He had just a brilliant Carnival when third first up followed by a win over course and distance, an all-weather success, and then nearly landing the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) when fourth. Sure, he’s the top weight, but has massive claims on paper.
#2 AHTOUG was disappointing to some first-up, but it made sense that he wouldn’t have been fully primed after having a breakout season last year that started in the UAE. Charlie Appleby reported that this guy has come on for that run and should improve enough to land a blow here.
Mike de Kock debuts a unique pair – a distance winner in #6 FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, a new import from the Coolmore gang, and #7 BANAADEER, who was a winner over this trip at home, and faced elders for the first time. Both stake claims, and we actually prefer the well-weighted Banaadeer in this first-up run, but it generally seems they are going to need this one.
#12 FITYAAN will be shorter than his price last time after a great run back on the grass against Hototo, who skips this appearance. He’s still the lightest weight carrier in the field, and that has to count for something against this lot.
1st – #2 AHTOUG, 2nd – #1 MEDICEAN MAN, 3rd – #12 FITYAAN
Race 3 – $60,000 Emirates Global Aluminium Billet Trophy Handicap (Rated 80-94) – 1,600m – dirt
There are plenty in here who have run with credit on the dirt, but the top weighted #1 FILFIL has to get the nod. This gelding has relished the dirt, and the kickback, and has a brilliant American pedigree that suggested he could get over this surface. Whatever may have ailed him before seems to be in the past. There is pace in this race and we expect him to pick it up from the rear.
#9 ONE MAN BAND was a second-time winner on the dirt last out, just defeating stable companion State Law. He wheels back two weeks later in the hopes of getting another one in some tougher company. The top choice beat him by four lengths two back.
#7 ALAREEF comes back on the dirt after a solid enough first-up run in a slightly easier spot last time in local company. He stayed-on through it all and now gets out to a mile.
#10 BAAREZ is by American dirt sire Hard Spun, whose progeny have gone on all surfaces. They typically need a race for Erwan Charpy, though.
1st – #1 FILFIL, 2nd – #9 ONE MAN BAND, 3rd – #7 ALAREEF
Race 4 – $200,000 Cape Verdi (G2) sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium – 1,600m – turf
A compact bunch will face the starter, and somewhat surprisingly, there are no Godolphin trainees here, even after the sad demise of Ihtimal after a training incident a few weeks ago.
Pace in this spot is likely to come from #8 OH STAR, just a maiden winner, and #5 WEE JEAN, which should keep them honest in the early going.
#7 SLIPPER ORCHID really caught the eye after running from last of sixteen to be fifth just beaten a length in a wild handicap here against open company two weeks ago. It was a great way to get her campaign going and proved the local conditions suit her just fine, getting back to the grass following some decent all-weather runs in what was a very busy October. Only Slipper Orchid and #2 ZURIGHA have any recent experience, with that mare having run a dull eighth last week, and is eligible to improve.
#6 CLADOCERA is a rare runner for trainer Alain De Royer-Dupre, successful just once from 13 starts in the UAE. She’s lightly raced and this would ordinarily be a class test, but she caught a weak bunch. That run on the all-weather is class considering Sloane Avenue’s form (he’s going to America for the Donn Handicap next weekend, and maybe even the Dubai World Cup). This filly likes to sit just off the pace, which doesn’t seem to be a bad spot in here.
You have to think that #4 ENERGIA FRIBBY is in need of more ground, but has run well when fresh. We’ll wait to see how she handles this.
1st – #7 SLIPPER ORCHID, 2nd – #6 CLADOCERA, 3rd – #2 ZURIGHA
Race 5 – $120,000 Emirates Global Aluminium Casthouse Trophy Handicap (Rated 100-110) – 1,400m – dirt
#11 MUAANID was one of the many involved in the pace from the Dubawi Stakes and stayed on for fourth, which wasn’t a terrible effort in hindsight. He covered the second-widest trip in the field, going 6m more than the winner. From the same race, #3 UNITED COLOR is likely to draw plenty of attention, and we just aren’t convinced he is the same horse this year. He looked as though he was drawn into the hot tempo and simply clunked up for the minor placings last time.
Don’t let #9 ENCIPHER get too far away from you. That last run will be viewed with too much skepticism, and of course, it was on the grass. The Jebel Ali and Muscat form will turn many others off as well. Bottom line – he’s a dirt horse, and he loves this trip. He’s definitely the value play of the day as he likes to race handy and should just be off the early gallop. Drawn well in four, we expect a big run. This yard has had some good runners so far this campaign, and they are more often ignored than not.
#5 ANOTHER PARTY was credibly in defeat when second to the next out Al Fahidi Fort winner Safety Check, immediately franking his performance. There isn’t much to go on pedigree-wise, but we know the barn has been able to get dirt runners from otherwise limited opportunities (Toast of New York).
#1 FREE WHEELING really caught the eye last time as he was a strong third and nearly made all against a big field, something very difficult to do at Meydan. He was always strong on the all-weather, but we will have to see if he goes on dirt. Respect him.
1st – #9 ENCIPHER, 2nd – #11 MUAANID, 3rd – #5 ANOTHER PARTY
Race 6 – $200,000 Al Rashidiya (G2), sponsored by Emirates Global Aluminium – 1,800m – turf
#7 TRUE STORY dominated the prep for this event, the Singspiel Stakes (Listed) on opening night of the Carnival, winning clear by 3 ¼ lengths over the previous year’s winner, Mushreq, who goes in the last race of the night. He was incredibly impressive on his first up appearance last season and hadn’t won since until the Singspiel, albeit after dabbling with some very good horses. Still, he was gelded since last season and dominated and seems on the way up. Moreover, we were wildly impressed with his gallop-out, seemingly wanting to go on and do even more. He’s the pick.
The second from the 2014 Dubai Duty Free (G1) is back and #2 VERCINGETORIX is ready for battle. A first-up winner in a 100+ handicap from last season, you could easily argue that was his least impressive performance, just a half-length score over a mediocre group. While yes, it was a win, the company he kept hence makes us believe it was a ring-rusty performance. Sure, it came after the quarantine as well, his first start in some time after being out of training. With much to come this season, we are going to give him this one to get back into shape. We are passing for now but still expect a credible run.
#5 SANSHAAWES is one we’ve liked a long time. He was a strong goer on the Tapeta and won over 2,000 on the turf last season. There was nothing to dislike about his local prep when fourth, just a half-length out of second, in the Singspiel last time. He came on for his run before and could be a big improver in this spot. Still, it’s tough to get past the on-top selection, and he couldn’t do it before.
While #6 MUJAARIB won this last year, he tailed off significantly and is just tough to pick on top on the chance he runs a massive race again.
#3 ARMY BULLETIN’s 1 ½ length defeat at Chantilly in the Prix Paul de Moussac (G3) last June, when beaten by Charm Spirit, stands up as top form. Still, he is just a two-time winner and barely that, with margins of a half-length and a short head. He’s coming off a long layoff and faces elders for the first time.
All this comes down to, for us, is the knowledge that Sanshaawes might not be good enough to overturn True Story, and Vercingetorix is just knocking off the rust after a long absence and has no reason to run a big one here.
1st – #7 TRUE STORY, 2nd – #2 VERCINGETORIX, 3rd – #5 SANSHAAWES
Race 7 – $150,000 Emirates Global Aluminium Potlines Trophy Handicap (Rated 95+) – 2,000m – turf
The topweights are getting a big relief in class in this spot, and that makes them quite dangerous in our opinion. #2 MUSHREQ is in handicap company for the first time in the UAE and he really just makes sense. A solid effort in the Singspiel was enough to get him here, and the fact he lands here over the Al Rashidiya suggests it’s a good spot for a win.
#1 HUNTER’S LIGHT only made two starts last year and was clearly disappointing in both. His back grass form is solid, and that run in the Arlington Million was also better than it looks.
#3 HAAFAGUINEA was our selection last time, and a strong one at that. He was really the only horse to make a move in a race that was slower than we expected, and he needed every inch of the stretch to get by Mr. Pommeroy. #4 ELLEVAL ran credibly in there too, and both are likely to have a shout in this.
1st – #2 MUSHREQ, 2nd – #3 HAAFAGUINEA, 3rd – #1 HUNTER’S LIGHT