Let’s run down our thoughts on the third night of the 2011 Dubai International Racing Carnival…in no particular order:
1. The “local trainer” run is simply amazing. Between Mike De Kock, Mahmood Al Zarooni, Saeed bin Suroor, and Ali Rashid Al Raihe, they have won 17 of the 22 thoroughbred races. Perhaps the reason for a lucrative pick three to end the day was that the winning trainers were Herman Brown, Luca Cumani, and Xavier Nakkachdji. Still, the top barns that have a year-round presence in the Emirates are dominant in the early going.
2. Welcome back Mickael Barzalona. After what seemed like a fluke win in last year’s DRC Gold Cup aboard longshot Sabotage, he had genuinely quality rides Thursday to win aboard City Style and Lost In The Moment. Add in Whispering Gallery’s win in the fourth race, and you have three perfect examples of the stable’s top riders, Frankie Dettori and Ahmed Ajtebi, being perfectly capable of picking the wrong horses in races for their top employer.
3. Not a single favorite in the international commingled tote was a winner on Thursday, and through 21 thoroughbred races at Meydan this year, only four winners (19%) have been favored. Through this point last year, eight of the first 21 races claimed favorite victors, a bit more on average with the typical race.
4. Congratulations to Xavier Nakkachdji for earning his first training win in Dubai. The Frenchman did it in his 14th start having had horses in the UAE each winter for three years. Win For Sure didn’t take the shortest route to the finish, but he did salvage what he could and galloped down UAE Oaks winner Raihana and rank outsider Navajo Chief.
5. How about Presvis?
Photo courtesy – EERC Photographer Cedric Lane
I’ll be the first to admit I just didn’t think he would run like that to win the Al Rashidiya (G2). He flew home and passed almost the entire field in 300 meters. In an interview with Dubai Racing Channel earlier in the night, trainer Luca Cumani admitted that he was likely to need this as a legstretcher, and as expected, would come on for the run. Granted, while anyone with a form guide could have told you the same thing, Cumani was standing there saying the horse was knocking down the barn and geared for a top effort. That’s what we saw, though, perhaps even more impressive than his win in last year’s Jebel Hatta (G2). Now the question – how does he come out of this race? As for Irish Flame, I do believe he needed this run and will be back with better over longer.
6. Is Happy Dubai now an Al Quoz Sprint contender? He has won over 1,000 and 1,200 in consecutive weeks, and this was an easier win than last week, and must be moved up in the weights. He has gobbled up the Meydan weeds and won Thursday’s event one-hundredth of a second slow than Joy And Fun in last year’s Al Quoz when it was over 1,200.
Plenty more to come next week with the tri-features – the UAE 1,000 Guineas (Listed), Al Shindagha Sprint (G3), and the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge (G3).