In no particular order, here are some our thoughts from the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival. Pictures courtesy of Cedric Lane – CLICK HERE to learn how to purchase these and many others from the UAE racing scene. We can’t recommend his services enough.
- Barbecue Eddie. Doug Watson. What a team. Watson has absolutely spent so much time with this guy and to think that he is better than ever at the ripe age of nine is really incredible. Don’t expect him to move on to the next round of the Maktoum Challenge, but potentially reemerge for the Firebreak Stakes or Burj Nahaar before the ultimate goal, the $1 million Godolphin Mile. The house will come down if he wins that one…let’s just hope he gets there after having to scratch from last year’s renewal.
- Sharestan previewed what might still be to come landing the Al Rashidiya Trial for Godolphin. Saeed bin Suroor indicated that he was likely only 85% and would come on for the race…while he beat the equally unexposed So Beautiful by four lengths, a horse who arguably might want more ground, you couldn’t help but think of all the great things that are in offing.
- It was just the first night of the Carnival, the first night of Godolphin horses getting out, but Saeed bin Suroor’s yard definitely gets the nod. Bin Suroor’s trainees had two wins, two seconds, and two thirds from eight starters. Mahmood Al Zarooni had several left on the reserve list, but managed just a third from three starters.
- Equally, the Mike de Kock yard had a slightly slower start than some might have expected. Final Button was hung incredibly wide in the second race and Amanee ran like a filly who needed a massive leg-stretcher. Mushreq popped and stopped in the fourth, finishing tenth. All three were making their first local starts and are likely to improve leaps and bounds over the Carnival. Disa Leader never got going from the back in the finale, but Anaerobio certainly did, and well, as an outsider – probably the best run from the yard on the night. Rerouted finished third in the Al Rashidiya Trial and is a consistent trier. He might be well-served in a handicap later in the season.
- For those that caught the purebred Arabian opener, Areem is a star in my eye. This horse has NOT been headed in three UAE starts, running off with aplomb to win three on the bounce. Tapeta, turf – it hasn’t mattered. Areem is a legitimate purebred and you are going to have trouble getting me to pick against this guy going forward. It is worth noting that Tenor Des Vialettes, an outsider in the field who was a likely pace presence, never showed interest and allowed Areem the pace all his own way. After a UAE career that started 11-for-233 over the last four years, trainer Majed Al Jahouri is 6-for-43 this season, with all winners coming from the purebred ranks.
- Cheers to Tadhg O’Shea for getting a very handy Carnival win with Le Drakkar. He was 50-1 on the morning line (perhaps a bit too high), but deserving of longshot status no matter. This guy was 0-14 in the UAE and just seemed to have lost the will to win. The pace was on in here, but it just didn’t seem like Le Drakkar would be the one to run them down.
- Reference our analysis from opening night and it was a mixed bag in hindsight. Honestly, there is no pleasure in these ranks tipping shorter prices up like Barbecue Eddie and Sharastan, but they were winners and hope it helped. You can’t bet every Carnival race (well, you could), but being selective from time-to-time doesn’t hurt. Some of these races are incredibly complex puzzles, and no better examples were the third and seventh races. I wouldn’t have backed Fityaan or Le Drakkar with your money, let alone my own. They were races we felt required sitting back and watching, for the most part, and that’s what we did. Anaerobio offered each-way value and he got us a small nib back.
- Ariete Arrollador ran on incredibly well, heartily supporting the statistics referenced in our analysis. Definite cheers to Lily’s Angel on a very nice win for Ger Lyons (his second in the UAE) and Gary Carroll, landing his first win in 12 UAE mounts.
- Saving ground comes with risks, and Farrier found them on opening night, getting boxed in from a fading Mushreq, effectively eliminating the chances of our top tip of the day. In the same race, Arthur’s Tale ran significantly better than we thought he would first up in the UAE.
- Out of Bounds, second in the Maktoum Challenge after cutting out the tempo, impressed us beyond belief. As mentioned, the overall quality was suspect in historical terms, but that performance first-up was more than respectable given the circumstances.
- Jamr, sixth in the Maktoum Challenge, seemed completely out of sorts being asked to go too short and looked like he was getting the hang of it again. Over more ground, he likely offers value for consideration.
- Stay tuned as we’ll link the Trakus Report here soon, which will review the key data from the night of racing.
Have a great weekend wherever you consume DubaiRaceNight.com