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Angus McNae

Angus McNae - Thursday 7th February

(Read Angus's Dubai World Cup Carnival column every Thursday in addition to his Saturday column)

I need to say this as much as many would advise me to slide the issue under the carpet and leave it alone.

Mickael Barzalona gave Van Ellis a shocking ride last week on the Tapeta when finishing second to Rerouted.

It was a ride that showed no pace judgement and was pain ugly. The sectional times from the race tell us he went too fast.

That in itself is not a crime, many jockeys get that wrong. Having gone really fast out in front he then used his whip more times than I would care to mention on a tiring horse. To be technical he hit the horse without allowing it to respond and it looked very bad.

As you will probably know I am very much a believer in the whip as a persuasive and corrective force in a race, but I do not believe it can make a tired horse who has already run punishing fractions go any faster.

Now, Christophe Soumillon on the winner was little better in terms of his whip use, but at least his horse was responding to pressure all the way to the line. The last two furlongs were not a good advertisement for racing anywhere in the world. We know that Soumillon is better than that, Barzalona however has plenty to prove in my eyes.

There is some excellent racing this week from Meydan and round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge takes centre stage.

 I have been juggling two horses in my mind. An exacta I hear you cry! Well maybe but trying to get the first and second in a race in the right order is somewhat ambitious for me. Anyway the two horses are Mushreq and Hunter’s Light.

Mushreq won a handicap last week and did so despite giving away a ton of ground by traveling wide on the home turn and making his move around it as well. That he could win at all given the trip he had was testament to his ability and he has a decent each-way shout at a reasonable price. But if Paul Hanagan goes five horses wide this time there will be no joy for Mushreq backers.

What of Hunters Light? He is already a proven Listed/Group Three horse and the main reason I like him is that he is unexposed on a synthetic surface. He has run on Polytrack once, winning the Churchill Stakes at Lingfield. Being a son of Dubawi there is a possibility that this type of surface will be what brings out the best in him and he could take a big step forward today.

The UAE 1,000 Guineas usually goes to Godolphin. They have a good chance this year with Music Chart, who won the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial three week’s ago in the style of a horse who will benefit for the step up to today's trip of a mile.

I cannot back this filly though because there is a very good word for Emotif, who is unbeaten after just one start at Greyville. She has to be respected as Mike De Kock, her trainer, is pitching her in deep on only her second start and his horses are on a roll now after something of a slow start.

For me this is a race to watch but if you have to play I think a small place lay of Shuruq would be the way to go. She shaped like she was a horse whose main asset was speed when she was second in the trial to Music Chart and this mile could stretch her stamina.

I do not ask for much in life, but let’s hope for no more Van Ellis/ Rerouted horror shows and for Hunters Light to shine bright in round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

Today's tip:

5.35pm Meydan: Hunter's Light

(Watch Racing UK's coverage of the Dubai World Cup Carnival with Angus McNae and James Willoughby from 2.30pm today)



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