Watch out for a South Africa double at Meydan
The Dubai World Cup Carnival is in full swing and it was nice to bag a 3-1 winner with Cat O’Mountain here on the blog last week. A repeat would be good but before I turn my attention to Thursday’s action let us have a look back at what happened last week when the big races were dominated by Godolphin.
The sectional timings courtesy of Trakus show that this race was strongly run. Sadeek's Song, Ralston Road and Jardim all made smart fractions before finishing well beaten. The winner was impressive and remains unbeaten on a synthetic surface.
To temper enthusiasm for his performance one could surmise that he got the perfect set up in the race and merely took advantage of the pace scenario that developed. I think there is more to his performance than that and I am sure he would have won however the race had been run.
He just could be a synthetic freak who goes on to show that on this occasion off a mark of 102 he was ridiculously well treated. So strong am I on him going forward I would not be surprised to see him in Round Three of the Al Maktoum Challenge and maybe the Dubai World Cup itself.
This is never a particularly strong race and over the years has been dominated by Godolphin. They won it again last week with the 96-rated Wedding Ring. This filly had already shown useful form when winning two sales races at Newmarket and she had only to repeat that form to win.
According to the sectionals the race rather fell apart, but Wedding Ring showed that her main asset is speed by firing off a final furlong of 11.5 seconds. This brings me to an interesting point about this filly and that is that I think she is a speedy individual who may struggle to see out a strongly-run mile in the Guineas itself. Her pedigree is full of speed, being by Oasis Dream out of an Elusive Quality mare and it may be significant that the one entry she holds going forward to next season in Europe is the Tatersalls Millions three-year-old sprint over six furlongs at Newmarket in April.
This race was won in a faster time than the fillies' equivalent and proves that the fillies' race was a weak one.
If you break down the race into 200-meter sections, which roughly equate to a furlong, it is obvious that this contest was run at a stronger gallop than the UAE 1,000 Guineas trial.
It is not always the case that a strong gallop yields a faster finishing time but that is the case when you compare both these trials. Wedding Ring finished off her race quicker than Emirates Flyer, who did his best work earlier on in the race.
Straight after the race I felt somewhat lukewarm about this performance, but on reflection I think it was a solid effort from a horse who is tough, has back form that makes him a triple-digit performer in terms of ratings and he should be favourite for the UAE 2,000 Guineas where he will take some beating.
The runner-up was Safety Check, who was a little bit unlucky in that he lacked running room at a vital stage. He came home in the final furlong marginally quicker than the winner (12.43s as opposed to 12.56s) but that may have been because he had been bottled up behind horses early in the straight conserving energy. He is no certainty to turn the form around with Emirates Flyer, in fact I would back Emirates Flyer to beat him again.
This race is easily explained. They went very fast and set it up for the winner, who is a confirmed hold-up horse who has been denied on many occasions due to steady gallops or poor rides.
The pace was set by Energizer, who went off way too fast, but even so he hung on in the battle for much longer than could have been anticipated and going forward he is a horse to bear in mind and put in your NagMe account. Another to put in your NagMe account out of this strong handicap is Star Empire, who was held up and ran on with zest down the middle of the track in the closing stages to finish third. His trainer Mike De Kock had already stated that he would need the run and that there is a race for him in a couple of weeks. You have been warned.
The winner had finished a close-up fifth in the Dubai Golden Shaheen at the Dubai World Cup meeting last year and his win here looks like an improved effort.
He is a smooth traveller and getting to the front a furlong and a half from home may not have been ideal, indeed I think more patient tactics would bring about improved form from him. The big question is can he win the Golden Shaheen on World Cup night?
The simple answer is he will have to keep on improving to see off some potentially useful international raiders, but he appears to be the best of those in Dubai at the moment. I am keen on keeping a close eye on Krypton Factor as well. The Trakus figures tell us that he ran five meters more than the winner through the race and he did so while being held up which is not his style. He is much better when forcing the pace as he did when winning the Golden Shaheen in 2012.
Of all the races on the card this is the one to spend the least time on. It looks to be an ordinary race won by a consistent all-weather type who had won in Muscat prior to this and looks an unlikely type for the follow-up.
This week I am hoping Mike De Kock is going to have a double. I like Anaerobio in the Al Fahidi Fort at 4.50. He was impressive last time out and this has been his target since he arrived in Dubai. Fulbright is a big danger on his recent Tapeta success, but given his pedigree I am not so sure he will be as effective on the Turf.
My second selection is El Estruendoso in the 5.20, who was favorite on his first start at Meydan this season, but was shuffled back at an important time and Christophe Soumillon let him come home in his own time thereafter. He was heavily supported that day and compensation awaits today.
Angus McNae's Thursday tips: