Race 1 – $110,000 Dubal International Casthouse Trophy, 1,600 meters, Tapeta
#6 SOVEREIGN REMEDY is a likely favorite in this event but also the top performer over the surface, easily dispatching a field of 12 at Southwell in October and managing a maiden placing in his only other start over all-weather. The third home that day has come back to win twice, although those races were on the grass, and the fifth home, former Carnival runner Vainglory, just won last Thursday at Kempton in his second start back over a mile trip at Kempton.
#11 MASAALEK made two turf starts last season at the Carnival but his two AW performances were beyond decent. An easy win in a maiden from 2008 followed later by a gritty third against a quality field at Great Leighs. He has shown an ability to run on well and is another who had a local prep to get the juices flowing again. It is worth mentioning that the normally more prominent runner was slammed at the start in his January 3rd tussle at Abu Dhabi which surely hampered his traditional stalking style.
#10 WORLD RULER has faced the Jet Express bandwagon in his last two starts before he went on to win the Jebel Ali Mile (Listed). This is the crucial third off the layoff for the son of Dansili who hasn’t rejected dirt at Jebel Ali, and actually improved from his December start. World Ruler was slightly hampered last out with 150 to go and his front-running style was a bit off his past form. That leg-stretcher could have him ripe for a decent performance.
1st – #6 SOVEREIGN REMEDY, 2nd – #11 MASAALEK, 3rd – #10 WORLD RULER
Race 2 – $120,000 Dubal International Billet Trophy, 1,400 meters, Tapeta
#10 STOIC sees a significant class jump and a wide draw but his ability to catch the frame is not to be overlooked. Jeremy Noseda already has one winner at the Carnival, so one can be confident in his ability to get his horses ready first up.
I thought #1 LOVELACE ran a very credible race in the Maktoum Challenge (G3) last week and made up ground at the rail against an accomplished field. Now going second off the shelf for Mark Johnston, he could easily improve to grab a placing, if not the win itself.
#4 MUTHEEB had a decent run in last week’s finale and should improve in his second start back. Richard Hills rides him over Lovelace, fulfilling his commitment to Sheikh Hamdan and has every right to wheel back a winner. We picked #3 KHOR DUBAI last week and he was given an atrocious ride by Carlos Sanchez. Breaking slow, Khor Dubai was the victim of the kamikaze middle move and faded badly, virtually eased. He could improve with a better ride the cut back, but we aren’t banking on it.
1st – #10 STOIC, 2nd – #4 MUTHEEB, 3rd – #1 LOVELACE
Race 3 – $50,000 UAE 2000 Guineas Trial sponsored by Dubai, 1,400 meters, Tapeta
Trainers Mike De Kock and Saeed bin Suroor have wholeheartedly dominated this division in the last three Carnivals, winning 11 of 12 races for sophomore save only the 2009 Al Bastakiya (Listed) when Soy Libriano won in a less than stellar renewal. #1 MUSIR and #2 MR CRAZY BOY are almost assuredly in a tussle for favorite status, both horses being owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. While a 1-2 finish is not out of the question, the main track breeding of Mr Crazy Boy far supercedes that of Musir. The intangible difference between the two is Sheikh Mohammed professed adoration for Musir, a colt he bred, and whose name means “determination” in Arabic.
Jockey intent here is worth noting as Christophe Soumillon goes with Musir and the stable’s second (formerly top) rider sides with the third entry for DeKock, #9 SOLID CHOICE. Ryan Moore, meanwhile, not a standard bearer of DeKock’s stable but a top jockey in his own right, gets the mount on the DeKock choice I seem to favor most. As it is, a tough call.
#5 EL AMARILLISTA offers an interesting chance for the Saudi connections of Prince Sultan Al Kabeer. In his last performance, this son of Mutakddim led almost every step of the way in the Gran Premio Montevideo (G1) over a dusty, dull racecourse in Argentina. While one would expect pace from him, most everything went his way in that race, bringing some of the performance into question. The recent Dubai success of the connections is worth noting.
#3 COEUR LOYAL is well-bred for this going and won easily in his native Chile over 1,300 meters in the Clasico Stakes (G3). He is one of the few runners in the world, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, but does not run in the Godolphin blue, which seems a sure mark against him in the intangible department. His last race was run in a professional manner and he should enjoy the trip and surface. Do the intangibles lead us against him?
Godolphin ran 1-2 in this race, the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3), and the UAE Derby (G2) last season with Desert Party and Regal Ransom. This year, their initial hand in this race seems lacking the same punch, offering #8 PERCUSSIONIST, #11 BLACK SNOWFLAKE, and #12 FROZEN POWER. They are all tough sells but the barn must be respected.
This decision is based on breeding alone. There is much enthusiasm for both Musir and Mr Crazy Boy, but we side with the latter despite Soumillon’s first call on Musir.
1st – #2 MR CRAZY BOY, 2nd – #1 MUSIR, 3rd – #3 COEUR LOYAL
Race 4 – $120,000 Dubal International Potline Trophy, 1,900 meters, Tapeta
#7 TARTAN GIGHA had a wide trip and showed good foot when fifth a week ago. This son of Green Desert starts from the rail and should, at least, get a ground saving trip.
#3 WALZERTRAUM has every reason to run a decent race with his breeding but is winless since mid-2008. Mario Hofer starts several horses on Thursday and he is likely well meant in this spot.
It is difficult to knock #5 SOY LIBRIANO on his results – nine placings, including four wins, from ten starts. His Al Bastakiya win, referenced in our race three analysis, was one of the weakest wins in that race’s history. He is a likely underlay and will win without us on board.
1st – #7 TARTAN GIGHA, 2nd – #3 WALZERTRAUM, 3rd – #5 SOY LIBRIANO
Race 5 – $120,000 Dubal International Innovation Trophy, 1,200 meters, Tapeta
I am going out on a limb to suggest that #1 SIR GERRY will be a dramatic underlay in on-track contests and international wagering. His win last week, at 49-1 in the international commingled pool, will have plenty of people smarting. Historically speaking, a longshot winner at the Carnival almost NEVER backs-up this quick and returns with a top performance. Granted, this field is far from tops, but Sir Gerry, who ran one of the best races in his past form, will need to draw on everything to do it again. I’m passing. If you missed the wedding, don’t catch the funeral.
#6 ALO PURA holds a unique distinction in getting a Frankie Dettori ride with a Godolphin horse in the race. What is that telling you? Third start off the layoff, a talented sprinter at Jebel Ali who gets a decent draw and the top jock stands a big chance.
The local form continues here with good efforts expected from both #3 MONTPELLIER and #11 TERRIFIC CHALLENGE, with the former having had six starts in the local UAE season. For Montpellier, that last race could have been the step back in the campaign after progressing well over the Jebel Ali dirt. Terrific Challenge, meanwhile, is also sitting third off the shelf and could pop at a big price.
1st – #6 ALO PURA, 2nd – #11 TERRIFIC CHALLENGE, 3rd – #3 MONTPELLIER
Race 6 – $200,000 Al Rashidiya (G3), 1,800 meters, turf
#9 NAVAL OFFICER is back on the green and over some his hoof issues from his limited 2009 campaign which saw him finish a strong third in the Meydan Classic and then sixth over the dirt in the UAE Derby (G2). For what its worth, Naval Officer actually made up ground on the rest of the UAE Derby field after trailing early, a trait that few showed on World Cup night. All reports from the Saudi contingent is that this Jerry Barton trainee couldn’t be doing any better. With many quality runners coming into this race with a significant layoff to consider, the mount of Olivier Peslier stands as good a chance as any. Those races in France were quality and the distance of this trip should be to his liking, as they were in his juvenile season back home. A longshot winner of the Al Rashidiya.
#7 FRONT HOUSE had two solid seconds at the 2009 Carnival before landing the Dubai City of Gold (G2) over stalwart Quijano. The 1,800 meters trip might be a bit short of her preferred distance but I expect the daughter of Sadler’s Wells to be near the finish.
#2 OISEAU DE FEU was gallant in several French efforts last year, just missing the win in the Prix Jean Prat (G1) at Chantilly. He has never traveled beyond 1,600 meters but always seems to be closing at the end of those contests. Erwan Charpy has not had fresh runners of this caliber at the Carnival in some time and he is sure to have put a monumental effort behind Oiseau De Feu.
#5 CROWDED HOUSE earns a slight top-rating of 118 over Oiseau De Feu but was lackluster in two starts last year over classic 2,400 meters distances. I have no doubt that those trips were too much for the son of Rainbow Quest, but is he the same horse that beat Donativum in 2008? A few too many question marks for my liking and will prefer to sit on him this time. Trainer Brian Meehan won with his first UAE starter when David Junior took the Dubai Duty Free (G1). Since then, five starters, all in group company, managed just one placing (Jack Junior, 2nd, 2007 UAE Derby (G2) well behind Asiatic Boy). Meehan likes to spot his Dubai runners in big races – getting to that point, he might need this run.
1st – #9 NAVAL OFFICER, 2nd – #2 OISEAU DE FEU, 3rd – #7 FRONT HOUSE
Race 7 – $150,000 Dubal International Trophy, 2,800 meters, turf
This event serves as the local prep for the 2010 DRC Gold Cup held at the end of February over 3,200 meters. #2 AGE OF REASON is the top pick after a successful stint at the 2009 Carnival. The son of Halling had a busy 2009 season but was freshened for several months, followed by a leg stretcher over the AW at Kempton. He was third off a more signficant layoff in his first Carnival start last season. This race lacks a big standout and thus, the edge goes to the home team.
#12 SABOTAGE could make it a Godolphin double as this Ted Durcan mount is one of the few to have traveled this distance, running second a neck at York in July. He often runs close and is one of the top candidates who could put the white hatted second stringer in the picture over Dettori. Toss of the coin?
#4 TITUREL has spent his entire career racing over no fewer than ten furlongs. How that will translate to this 14 furlong event is anyone’s guess, but he is a regular winner in Germany and represent’s trainer Manfred Hofer’s first start in Dubai. They brought him here for a reason, no?
1st – #2 AGE OF REASON, 2nd – #12 SABOTAGE, 3rd – #4 TITUREL
Race 8 – $110,000 Dubal International DX Technology Trophy, 2,000 meters, Tapeta
I could go in any one of several directions for this particular event, and it could go down as one of the crazier results of the evening. I will side with one of the better chances in #4 KING OF ROME. He lost a ton of ground while racing wide last week and stable companion Lizard’s Desire sat a perfect trip. The final measure Thursday was 2.5 lengths and I think it is safe to say that King of Rome lost most of that from the wide draw. He has been successful over longer distances and going third off the layoff, despite running three times in more than two weeks, could signify a winning move.
#1 HOT SIX has some non-grass breeding as With Approval is his damsire, plus a win and a third over dirt in Brazil. Pascal Bary clearly had Gloria De Campeao ready to go last week and this race represents a monumental class break over his previous efforts.
#11 TEAM VICTORY stands to run as a monumental long shot with his last three poor efforts sullying the form on its own merits. You cannot avoid the fact that he is 6-for-10 when racing on dirt, and while Tapeta isn’t dirt, it also isn’t turf. How is that for profound? That race at Abu Dhabi had all the look of a leg stretcher for the son of Public Purse, and the weight-break can’t hurt either.
1st – #4 KING OF ROME, 2nd – #1 HOT SIX, 3rd – #11 TEAM VICTORY