Hello to all from Dubai. Normally, we are quick to put together post-race thoughts on the full gamut of activity from the 2012 Dubai World Cup, but given the emotionally charged nature of the day, both powerful and challenging, we thought it best to let our thoughts settle for some time.
We do not view this blog as an entity to wax poetic, or wane prophetic, about anything, but rather, to just tell you what we know and think. Sure, we analyze the races throughout the full season, offer tips from Meydan, Abu Dhabi, Jebel Ali, and Sharjah, and greatly enjoy our time in the UAE. If you want to read some grizzly account of the sad breakdowns from the Dubai Gold Cup (G3), go elsewhere. We are not sensationalizing tragedy. This sport has some wild emotional swings – for horsemen, owners, punters, and viewers. Thoroughbred are born to run, that’s what they do – always have, always will.
The loss of Fox Hunt, Bronze Cannon, and Grand Vent, all in the Dubai Gold Cup, was unforeseen, and took a massive toll on the thousands present, the racing officials, the media, and viewers around the world. It’s ridiculously easy to sit behind a keyboard and opine prodigiously, all-knowing and omnipotent. Some have chosen to done that. Instead, here is what we know…
Ten thoroughbred trainers – some of the best in the world – along with top veterinary staff, deemed their horses were sound to run. It’s not as if the human connections paid a ton of money to get to Dubai, forcing the hand of owners/trainers to “get their money worth” out of the race. Many, many costs are covered by the Dubai Racing Club – we witnessed no pressure applied to anyone to run the race.
Horses racing at Meydan are cared-for in the most impeccable surroundings. We visited two barns this week and were absolutely floored by the regal conditions for the equine superstars. Never before have we been in a cleaner, nicer, more pristine stable located on racing premises – anywhere in the world. Take all of this for whatever you choose, but loudest voices are often the most extreme for a reason, lacking defined perspective on the entire situation.
Our opinions are just that – and what you will find below are a selection of our thoughts, in no particular order (except the first one) for the full day at Meydan.
1. We offer our sincere thanks for all the kind comments to the site, and on Twitter @DubaiRaceNight related to the tipping and our related endeavours. Nick Tammaro is a brilliant tipster, and had the first three home in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, in order – a 224-1 chance on the tote. He also managed to tip four winners on the night in total. We’re always happy giving out winners, and hope you had some success on the night as a result.
2. To suggest we were thrilled for some of the connections that were victorious was an understatement – something that was backed in our comments here on the site and on Twitter during the week. We hid nothing when suggesting how bullish the connections of Ortensia were, and were somewhat shocked to learn of her short price on the international tote. Sometimes, you can just tell – they knew absolutely everything had gone right, and during a dinner on Wednesday with co-owner Alistair Fraser, who seemed almost physically ill at the thought of having to wait until Saturday to run the race, the confidence just boiled over.
To be last with 400 metres to go, and ninth with 200 metres to run, she just exploded in running. Trakus, on Twitter @trakusracing, reported that Ortensia’s final 400-metre split was over .49 seconds faster than the next-fastest (second home Sole Power), and .34 seconds faster than any others in the final 200-metres. That is some serious, SERIOUS acceleration compared to the competition.
Fawzi Nass has had a great run with Krypton Factor, and we spoke to him Friday night at Meydan Hotel about – true quiet confidence. Hope they go for the rematch in Singapore. We call Fawzi the Jovial Bahraini for a reason – couldn’t have been more thrilled for a great guy.
3. Being at Meydan for the first Dubai World Cup won by Godolphin at that amazing facility, and seeing the public enclosure absolutely erupt with glee at a one-two all blue finish – just incredible. An experience that one will not forget, and a testament to the way things are in Dubai.
4. How about Cityscape? How about the pace in the Dubai Duty Free? The average opening sectionals for races at 1,800 metres on turf at Meydan are 26.72 (first 400) and 50.66 (to the 800m). Await The Dawn, setting the race for no one, went out in 25.55 and 48.64, a suicidal second-400m split of 23.09, which had us thinking one of the closers was going to kick home. Instead, Cityscape, who sat third early, and was 1.25 lengths off Await The Dawn’s 800-metre split, and who ran a 22.97 second-400m split, stayed, and widened. This was a monumentally impressive performance, lowering Mahbooba’s course record. The early word from is that Cityscape might be aimed over the jumps for next season – not quite sure if he’ll be sticking around on flats (UPDATE – Hahaha – Roger Charlton pulled one over on Twitter – darn April Fool’s Day – we were a bit overzealous in putting this in the story while still trying to get back into stride after a long night post DWC), but any way you look at it, a massive tally. Also, monster congrats to James Doyle, who emerged on the scene in Dubai this season and proved his mettle, getting his first Group 1 win.
5. The opposite pace scenario happened in the Dubai Sheema Classic, where Bold Silvano, who is likely to be retired after his trailing home, went as slow as possible. St. Nicholas Abbey did everything possible to catch Cirrus Des Aigles, who clearly has not lost a step. He remains a classy runner, and overturned any of our misconceptions.
6. Monterosso did NOT have an easy go of it, traveling wide throughout the Dubai World Cup, covering 2,035 metres in running. For what it’s worth, Game On Dude went 2,038 metres and spit the bit. That local experience really seemed to matter, as Capponi and Monterosso just had more late. It’s quite incredible that a horse who was a very close third, and had a progressive prep race three weeks ago, without doing too much, was sent off at a big price. This marks the third out of the last four runnings of the world’s richest race where the winner had been a placer the previous year.
7. African Story was our best bet of the night for a reason.
8. We still don’t know why Sepoy and Soul were in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, and not the Al Quoz Sprint. Experiment – failed.
9. A Qatari-owned, American-trained, Dutch-ridden purebred Arabian won the Dubai Kahayla Classic. Winning connections on the night came from Ireland, France, Bahrain, the UAE, Australia, Saudi, and the UK, in no particular order. Not too bad. The world races at Meydan.
10. We send out massive good wishes to Doug Watson, who had to be gutted when he saw the first and fourth placers from the Maktoum Challenge R3 (G1) run 1-2 in the Dubai World Cup, while his horse was scratched early Saturday. Hopefully Silver Pond moves on to Hong Kong or Singapore, or both!
11. We’ll have some more trickle-down thoughts on Twitter, and are fully expecting the extremists to be vociferous. All we ask is for perspective and logic in the discussions to follow.