Angus McNae
Angus McNae's Racing UK Blog
Thursday 20th February 2014
Racing UK
He is 20-1 Because of a Hidden Effort Last Time

Last week at Meydan we saw two really top-class performances. Both horses in question look set to make their mark on Dubai World Cup night on March 29 provided all goes well between now and then.

The first of these two was Long John, who won the UAE 2,000 Guineas in impressive fashion. He stood head and shoulders above his rivals in terms of class, given his exploits for Australian trainer Peter Snowden.

Down under Long John won three out of the six stakes races he competed in, including the Group One Caulfied Guineas. This was his first run for Charlie Appleby and his first on Tapeta. He is by Street Cry, who is a tremendous synthetic/dirt sire and Long John took to the surface really well.

In fact he won despite not getting the best of rides. The Trakus figures indicating ground loss for the race show that seven of his eleven competitors saved more ground in the race than he did, and if you add to this the fact that Mickael Barzalona made his move four wide on the bend giving away ground then you have an impressive performance that was even better than it appeared. The UAE Derby looks to be his for the taking.

The other top-class effort came from Variety Club, the dual South Africa horse of the year. This horse is trained by Joey Ramsden and never looked in much danger of defeat in the Group Three Firebreak Stakes.

He is a fluid mover, who has bags of pace. His only defeat came when he was asked to go 10 furlongs on his debut. Since then he remains undefeated, winning all of his six starts including the Grade One Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth.

I firmly believe that his main asset is speed, and that the mile is as far as he wants to go - he would surely be equally effective at seven furlongs.

Ramsden reports that he will probably run on Super Saturday in a nine-furlong race on the turf and they will then make a decision about World Cup night following that performance. It seems clear, however, that either the Dubai Duty Free on turf or the Dubai World Cup on Tapeta, will be the two options that they have.

It will be fascinating to see how this horse copes with nine furlongs - he may just get away with it on turf, but 10 furlongs on Tapeta against a top-class field would probably be a step too far.

Nonetheless he is a real talent whose career has been well managed and his connections can be trusted to make the right decisions.

This week if we get to see two performances as good as those we will be in for a treat.

Above all a couple of winners is what we want and I am hopeful that the following three selections will yield a profit.

I have a horse with a hidden effort, who appears set to go off at a big price. I have a horse who so far at the Carnival has proved he can run faster than any other and one who might be the fastest of all, but whose talent on Tapeta has not been fully tested.

Let's start with the hidden effort horse, who is very much an each-way selection. Last time out in a decent handicap Regulation beat only a couple of horses home and he was never better than mid-division. This does not tell the whole story, for he travelled well and had no running room in the home straight. In fact he had to be switched for a run a couple of times before his jockey put hands down and allowed him to coast home.

In his native Ireland he was second in the Irish Cambridgeshire and his trainer Mick Halford has already had two Carnival winners in the form of Eastern Rules and Russian Soul. This is a tough contest with three Mile De Kock runners all holding solid chances, but this horse is definitely better than he has shown of late and should be backed each-way at a big price.

Secondly I have to be with Mujaarib in the concluding handicap at 6.10pm. If you saw my Dubai speed figures then you would have noted that this horse has posted the biggest figure at the Carnival so far at 110.

This figure came out of nowhere and to ask whether he can repeat it is valid. I have to believe that he can after having a three week break to recover and in a race where there are only three horses within his parish in terms of ratings.

In fact given the lack of strength-in-depth of the race he could find this a whole lot easier. Stall two is ideal for his jockey Paul Hanagan, who will be able to get a nice sit going the shortest way round and then it will be a case of counting to ten before kicking for home. Let's make that a count to twenty and then go nab the prize!

Thirdly I am with a horse who could be a superstar, a synthetic freak if you like. If you have not seen Cat O’Mountain's win at Meydan on his first run on Tapeta then I implore you to watch it.

He was explosive and now gets a chance to prove that was no fluke, indeed today he can prove he is much better than he was that day. He has been punished by the handicapper to the tune of 13lb for that effort, but that is perfectly fair given the manner of his success.

The rise in the ratings should be no bar to success. The problem, if there is one, is his wide draw in 14. Barzalona, his jockey, will have to have a clear plan in his head, which, knowing him, will probably involve dropping out in the rear.

I have no problem with this, but such a plan then requires the horse's effort to be made at the right time which is not four wide on the bend like on Long John. We may be in for a horror show here, or we may just see a really good horse show that he could just be a possibility for the Dubai World Cup. Watch him at 5.00.

Angus McNae's Thursday Meydan tips:

3.15 Meydan: Regulation each-way at 20-1 with William Hill

5.00 Meydan: Cat O’Mountain

6.10 Meydan: Mujaarib at 2-1 with William Hill