The sixth night of the 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival brings us a six-race meeting, headlined by the $200,000 Al Rashidiya (G2). Below is our analysis of the card.
Race 1 – $110,000 Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Handicap (Rated 95-105)
1,200 metres – Tapeta
Now third off the layoff, we will have to go back to the well with #4 INTERNATIONALDEBUT. He’s found trouble in running on two occasions when behind Addictive Dream, and might, believe it or not, find the Tapeta a bit more to his liking in terms of the trip. He reeled off three consecutive all-weather wins at Lingfield in 2008 over a three week span, and before that, had a win at Wolverhampton. He can get over the strip, and you have to think he has gone over the surface well in the morning to get a consideration here given how well he ran on the turf. It would be a no-brainer to go back to the grass, so we actually see this as an encouraging move that he remains in good form.
#3 ARIETE ARROLLADOR was surprisingly dismissed internationally and has every chance to go a bit better than his first up effort. He’ll get a similar trip under Mirco Demuro as last time, and without Barbecue Eddie, he’s right there at the Carnival’s third meeting.
#11 THE REAPER made 11 starts in 2011, the first of which was his only win, coming on all-weather at Dundalk. Two starts before that, he broke his maiden over the same course. He’s incredibly consistent, but his lack of nose for the wire causes some concern. The son of Footstepsinthesand didn’t get the best of trips last time, coming out of the same race as Internationaldebut, but acquitted himself well and should come on for that run to be competitive here.
1st – #4 INTERNATIONALDEBUT, 2nd – #3 ARIETE ARROLLADOR, 3rd – #11 THE REAPER
Race 2 – $120,000 Dubai Duty Free Foundation Handicap (Rated 100-110)
1,400 metres – Tapeta
The presence of #6 AS DE TREBOL makes you think the repeat for #3 BARBECUE EDDIE is unlikely, and it also seems to compromise #9 CAPTAIN RAMIUS as the pace figures to be a hot one.
#2 SPECTACLE DU MARS seems as good as any in here, but mostly because he will sit off the pace. He has wins over 1300 and 1500, even though his most recent races are over shorter. The 5-from-10 record for the all-weather is encouraging, and he has run well when fresh in the past. He’s a real trier, making his 31st start to begin his five-year-old campaign, and this trainer/jockey combo has been successful here before. He does have a win over #1 AFRICAN STORY, the other logical pick for us. This top Godolphin entry holds an all-weather win over 1500 metres at Deauville, and mixing in company with Sahpresa and Zinabaa puts him as one of the flashier forms in the race. There is no reason to think he might not go turfing at some point and would be hard to figure him not being involved at the end.
1st – #2 SPECTACLE DU MARS, 2nd – #1 AFRICAN STORY, 3rd – #3 BARBECUE EDDIE
Race 3 – $175,000 Dubai Duty Free Handicap (Rated 100+)
1,400 metres – Turf
#8 ALBAASIL was a horse we tipped in our preseason preview, the 2012 Dubai Racing Comprehensive, and catches a tough bunch here. We are inclined to wait on him and see what happens before going crazy with support. There aren’t a ton of runners in here, but enough to make you think he’ll need to be really special to get the job done.
How about #1 DARK MATTER showing up here? He could easily wait for the UAE 2,000 Guineas, but instead is entered for 1,400 on the grass. You almost think that Steven Burrdige realizes that the colt by Stratum is likely to go better while sprinting as opposed to the stretch out to a mile or more, which is what the top 3-year-old races will do. He got an absolutely dream trip and now faces older, much more experienced runners. Drawn on the inside, he is likely to get another good trip, but you just have to wonder when the Singapore luck train stops.
#2 TIME PRISONER overcame gate 14 last time to win in a nice way, and there were some hard luck stories behind him. The 10th place finisher, Iguazu Falls, came back to win last week, while the sixth place finisher was third on Saturday. You’ll note in his running line that he rarely puts top efforts together, most recently winning, but prior to that, in and through last year, showing a series of non-placings around his wins. It’s tough to support a horse like that.
We backed #9 SWOP when he was a winner at Nad Al Sheba, and guess what, he hasn’t won since. Call us crazy, but we are going back to the well with him. The weights are in his favour, and he has run well on grass here, getting weight. That last race left something to be desired, but you have to think he needed it in some respect. He’s improved off bad efforts in the past, and the handicapper might have the old guy in the right spot. We acknowledge we are taking a chance, but the short price on Time Prisoner is of no interest, and #1 SILVERSIDE will ensure a strong gallop to run at – enough to make us think a form reversal is possible.
1st – #9 SWOP, 2nd – #1 DARK MATTER, 3rd – #8 ALBAASIL
Race 4 – $110,000 Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Handicap (Rated 95-105)
1,900 metres – Tapeta
How could you pick against #3 SARRSAR here? He’s unbeaten on all-weather, is a course/distance/Carnival winner, and still not terribly handicapped. He had every reason to not run on in the opener of the Carnival when a dawdling pace and still did it. This time, the son of Shamardal might actually do it more impressively. He’s our strong selection.
Everyone has waited for #14 IBN AL NAFIS to come on a bit better. He had some trouble at Jebel Ali last time, but no one was going to catch front-running sensation Treble Jig in the Jebel Ali Stakes (Listed). He has some great breeding, and gets some favourable weight treatment here. An improvement for a placing is not out of question in his first start on Tapeta.
#1 CAPPONI almost got away with a heist last time and you figure he has to go forward again, except, #7 JEDI is going to be there as well, and #8 MARAHEB is possible for early pace.
1st – #3 SARRSAR, 2nd – #1 CAPPONI, 3rd – #14 IBN AL NAFIS
Race 5 – $200,000 Al Rashidiya sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (G2)
1,800 metres – Turf
#6 PRESVIS won this race last year, prepared in the same fashion by Luca Cumani, and off a long layoff. A year ago, here is what we said about Presvis returning in this spot.
“As for the other top contender, Presvis worked himself into shape at last year’s Carnival and it is tough for us to think he wouldn’t be doing the same. Run incredibly well in this race, or progress on to the bigger and wealthier pots? For Presvis to be in to form right now is beyond logical. Let’s look elsewhere.”
The same thought process might creep in here, but Presvis bucked that trend, ran on to win by almost five lengths, and came back two starts later to take the 2011 Dubai Duty Free (G1). So – what happens here? There is a significant difference between this year’s race and last year’s in there is a tremendously in form #7 MUSIR. Presvis was a standout in class over last year’s field but we doubted him because of a perceived need to get a race under his belt. Musir has had one, and it was wholeheartedly impressive, and without much need for an overwhelming exertion.
There isn’t a ton of pace in this race, and that should certainly hurt some of the chances for Presvis, not to mention, he’s eight, now. We pick Musir in this spot. His win at Veliefendi over a mile was surely enough to impress us, and the leg-stretcher in the Maktoum Challenge was awesome. He’s the in-form horse who is likely to get a better setup here than Presvis.
#8 WIN FOR SURE was our opinion of a possible Dubai World Cup longshot last year when he ran a good fourth in the Maktoum Challenge – R3 (G2). He was put away for what seems a campaign to get on the road to the Dubai Duty Free or Dubai Sheema Classic. #4 RAJSAMAN was decent in the Hong Kong Mile (G1) last out, and before that, had a rousing win on Arc weekend. He’s certainly in with a shout.
1st – #7 MUSIR, 2nd – #6 PRESVIS, 3rd – #8 WIN FOR SURE
Race 6 – $150,000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Handicap (Rated 95+)
2,000 metres – Turf
***UPDATE***Please note #1 VISCOUNT NELSON is a non-runner in this race and was our original selection
#6 FIREBET was 1-2 on the international tote when he was second beaten a neck on 19 February 2010 when beaten a neck by Al Shemali, who would go on to win the Dubai Duty Free. He lost a TON of ground on that occasion, reported by Trakus as 18 metres more than Al Shemali on that day, the most of any horse in the field. He was owned by Godolphin then and is now owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s son, Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. This horse was less than two lengths away from the great Harbinger in Group 3 company at Goodwood. But ALL of this work was before March 2010, and it’s now late January 2012…of course he probably needs a run, but there could be some pace to run at here for him to grab a piece.
#4 FALLEN IDOL used to be with John Gosden and last time out was a 2.25 lengths behind Godolphin’s Hunter’s Light in the listed Tanqueray Stakes at Goodwood. Three horses came out of that race to win next time, including Hunter’s Light, in a listed race at Lingfield, along with third placer Mirror Lake (in a listed race at Doncaster) and the fourth home, Distant Memories (in a novice hurdle). That being said, some of his other performances haven’t been franked well, and they are rather hit and miss. He’s a tough proposition to back with any overwhelming support, and he’s likely to be a favourite.
#10 QUICK WIT should have been more prominent last time but wasn’t, as he’s almost always well into stride and throws in his best, but just never got involved. He arguably may have needed a race but it’s difficult to ignore how much better his form is on the grass compared to the all-weather. He’s an enigma in here and we wouldn’t be surprised by any result.
How about the other Godolphin runner, Mickael Barzalona’s mount #3 ROSTRUM? We aren’t strong on anyone else in this race and since we think Firebet will need it, this guy seems the next best alternative with a likely decent price. Rostrum surely needed that last race, and traveled six metres more than the winner based on the Trakus data, which equates to roughly 2.3 of the 3 lengths in the final margin. He might look like a miler on paper, but that run he made last time suggests more ground is well within his reach. A tenuous selection in a tough race, made tougher with the defection of Viscount Nelson.
Oh, and for the record, we’ll have a small flyer on #9 MORAN GRA just in case he finds that occasional top form we tipped him for last week.
1st – #3 ROSTRUM, 2nd – #6 FIREBET, 3rd – #4 FALLEN IDOL
2011-2012 UAE season-to-date: 184 selections – 42 first, 34 second, 18 third (23% winners, 51% top three)