Well that’s it for another year in Dubai, and unfortunately for us speed figure men the last ever Nad Al Sheba carnival, as from next year the Dubai World Cup will be staged at Meydan Racecourse, as will all the trial fixtures that were staged at Nad Al Sheba this year. For more information on Meydan Racecourse and what it looks to bring click here.
Over the past three months we’ve seen some electric performances from the likes of Gladiatorus, and Big City Man in particular, but also the failure of Brave Tin Solider who clocked a huge figure on dirt but failed to replicate that figure in any run since, but the positives outweighed the negatives.
8f – Dirt – Godolphin Mile (Group 2)
91 – Two Step Salsa
89 – Gayego
87 – Don Renato
87 – Summer Doldrums
87 – Brave Tin Soldier
Analysis: A decent renewal of the Godolphin Mile and the time wasn’t anything flash in the face of things, considering the fast early pace. On figure this looked a match between the two Godolphin runners in Two Step Salsa and Gayego, I sided with the latter just after he beat Big City Man last time, but it was Two Step Salsa who got first run on Gayego to land the honours under Frankie Dettori. Brave Tin Solider showed some of his earlier spark running on late to snatch fifth.
9f – Dirt – UAE Derby (Group 2)
86 – Regal Ransom
86 – Desert Party
64 – Lelah Dorak
63 – Soy Libriano
57 – So Shiny
Analysis: A race on paper that looked between the two Godolphin recruits but it didn’t go to the more favoured runner of the two as for one reason or another Desert Party failed to show that trademark burst of speed that served him well in the run-up to this race. This allowed Regal Ransom to get first run and grind out a decent success in this Group 2.
6f – Dirt – Dubai Golden Shaheen (Group 1)
108 – Big City Man
104 – Indian Blessing
102 – Diabolical
101 – Bamboo Ere
100 – Black Seventeen
Analysis: An excellent result on the figures, and proved what a dirt sensation Big City Man is. To think he was a winner of a handicap earlier in the year and it was then we spotted this horses ability to run fast times capable of taking a race of this grade. In the context of this race, he run the same figure as Benny The Bull did when taking the race last year, and I strongly feel Big City Man could have run even quicker. He relishes a battle and was going away again at the finish, he’s a certainty for any dirt sprint for the next year or more, he’s special.
9f – Turf – Dubai Duty Free (Group 1)
106 – Gladiatorus
103 – Presvis
101 – Alexandros
98 – Niconero
97 – Bankable
Analysis: A superb run from the front running sensation Gladiatorus. To run as fast as he did for that amount of time, in top class opposition gives him the title of a ‘superfreak’. This is one of the fastest figures I’ve ever given a horse on Turf, I think if memory serves the only horse who clocked this rating was Dylan Thomas when winning the Prix Ganay. I believe this Gladiatorus will be a sensational prospect in Britain this year, and I can’t see anything catching him over a mile, perhaps the Juddmonte International at York could be his prime target? Presvis showed blistering acceleration at the end of the race, suggesting an extra furlong will come in handy; he looks a top class recruit to all international 10f races on turf this coming year, and is in the right hands under the tutelage of Luca Cumani.
12f – Turf – Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1)
94 – Eastern Anthem (++)
94 – Spanish Moon
94 – Purple Moon
92 – Youmzain
88 – Marsh Side
Analysis: A race with very slow fractions early, and developed somewhat into a sprint. So the performance of Eastern Anthem coming 6 wide around horses to get up and nail two smart performers in Spanish Moon and Purple Moon is outstanding. I’ve awarded him a plus figure as I believe this horse is capable of even better in a stronger run race. Globetrotting Purple Moon once again ran well in defeat, and Spanish Moon improved on his previous form running a career best here. I look forward to seeing Eastern Anthem contesting British Group 1 races this year, perhaps the Coronation Cup will be his first target.
10f – Dirt – Dubai World Cup (Group 1)
99 – Well Armed
85 – Gloria De Campeao
81 – Paris Perfect
80 – Muller
77 – My Indy
Analysis: A sub-standard renewal of the feature race, possibly the worst ever field since the race began back in 1996. Well Armed looked visually impressive here in winning but the figures suggest he wasn’t up to par with last year’s winning Curlin who clocked a 102 in the process of winning. The proximity of Gloria De Campeao (beaten 8 3/4L by Well Armed last year) suggests just that and his performance in finishing second is nothing to get excited about. Albertus Maximus did a tendon and was lame throughout the race, so his performance can be knocked on the head and forgotten. Snaafy didn’t get home over the trip and Asiatic Boy was struggling from the outset. I’d suggest that the winner got into a perfect rhythmic stride pattern on this surface setting fractions that was well within his limit, before striding away to post a visually impressive success.
Hope you enjoyed my contributions from Nad Al Sheba and The Carnival this year, and hopefully Meydan Racecourse will prove just as fruitful as Nad Al Sheba did.