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Recapping DIRC Nights 6 and 7

In no particular order, here are our thoughts on the last week’s two nights of racing from Meydan.

1.  Congrats to Calvin Borel for managing to take the Meydan Masters jockey challenge with a first and fourth place finish in two of the three races.  But at the same time, how could the DRC not get a full field of 12 to make it a true four-race challenge as it was long marketed?  One suggestion is consider lowering the ratings scale to allow for more 95-110 races as opposed to the 100-110 races that can narrow the available runners.  Also, the number of turf routes has seemed somewhat overwhelming in recent weeks and this potentially thins the competition.

2.  The accolades continue as Doug Watson gets our pat-on-the-back for a great treble Friday.  None of his horses went favored but the barn that has had so many placings this season finally got over the top at the Carnival.  A near miss from KANDAR DU FALGAS in the Bani Yas would have made it four.  We were equally happy tipping FAMOUS WARRIOR in the mile race on Friday as that gelding got it done at 35-1 in the international pools.

3.  RIVER JETEZ (below, yellow silks) looked good winning the Balanchine and came on for her last run, but much credit should also go to stable companion REEM who has surely impressed the barn that didn’t know much about her to start the campaign.  River Jetez established a new mark for 1,800 on the turf, besting Raihana’s record that lasted but a week.

Photo courtesy EERC photographer Cedric Lane

4.  Sometimes, horseplayers can get caught in a bind when a particular horse hasn’t won in a long time, and that was likely the case with WAR MONGER.  This guy hadn’t had a winning race since January 2008 but showed signs of life when beaten in several 2010-2011 starts.  Getting those types of performances from your horse have to be more satisfying than some others, and we are sure Team Watson was quite pleased.

5.  GOLDEN SWORD (pictured below) continues to exude his class over the Carnival fields and with these most recent wins on consecutive weeks, the De Kock barn is likely in the position of considering the Dubai World Cup.  After just falling two lengths short of Sea The Stars, this 5-year-old had seemingly lost his way a bit.  Switched to the Tapeta in 2011, he now has two wins and second in three starts and his rating, produced up to 117, gives him an absolute spot in the gate if they choose to take it.  His win on Friday was the fastest 2,000 metres at Meydan – stopping the clock more than one-fifth of a second faster than Red Desire’s record from the 2010 Maktoum Challenge – R3.  DubaiRaceNight.com will have an updated Dubai World Cup contenders/projected field later this week.

Photo courtesy EERC photographer Cedric Lane

6.  Will DERBAAS ever stop surprising us?  Count me among the many who just have yet to respect him, despite reeling off four consecutive wins, two of which were at the Carnival.  He sat second most of the way in the Al Fahidi Fort (G2) and no one could catch him in the lane.  You could argue that, based on times, his race in the Al Fahidi Fort was a bit of a step back.  His race two starts back over the turf was more than a second faster over the same course and distance.  RAIHANA was definitely softened up by her strong performance a week ago, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see her again until the big night. 

7.  When will Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum get the recognition he deserves as a magnificent owner, breeder, and supporter of the sport?  He has just flourished with his stable trained by Mike De Kock with 10 wins and 12 placings.  Godolphin, raicng for HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has 12 wins from many more starters.  The battle is on.

8.   DEEM may have stamped herself a Dubai World Cup candidate with a strong second behind Golden Sword.  That 2,000 metres heat was fastest in the history of Meydan and she was just behind it and closing.  In her first start since a solid fourth in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1), the Jerry Barton trainee proved she can get over the Tapeta.  Obviously, the connections could go back to turf, but she proved in fine fettle off the shelf and should only improve. 

9.  I think we can now be certain JJ THE JET PLANE goes only on the grass after a listless Tapeta debut, albeit one in which he was closer, earlier, than normal.

One comment

  1. Something I’ve noticed at this year’s carnival is that there’s a lot of horses racing at Meydan that are really stout stayers. I think it would be fantastic on the part of the Dubai Racing Club, or Jockey Club to add a G1 race for stayers over 2 miles on Dubai World Cup night. That would take out some of the horses that try to win the Sheema Classic, but are really better when they’re stretched on out to distances of 1-3/4 to 2 miles. It would also give some of these stayers who have won 14 to 16f races from listed to G2 level a chance to win a major G1 race and a big paycheck over 2 miles. This year alone we could potentially see a stayers race that would include the likes of Whispering Gallery, Opinion Poll, Drunken Sailor, Pompeyano, Age of Reason, Telluride, Jedi, Mikhail Glinka, Claremont, and Sabotage just to name a few. That would make for a very intriguing 2 mile race for stayers, IMO.

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