DRC – World Cup Night Times

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.

Dubai Carnival – Week 4 Times: Day 1

The analysis below is taken from the meeting which took place on February 5th 2009. The thoughts below are that of my own and are compiled using my speed figure formulas.

7.5f – Turf – Good
100 – Summit Surge
99 – Calming Influence
99 – King Jock
95 – Little White Lie
94 – Grantley Adams

Analysis: A good time here for this handicap and Carnival newcomer Summit Surge has improved over the winter. This was a good effort here to beat the race ready Calming Influence who almost ran to the exact number he clocked behind Gladiatorus. King Jock equalled a career best effort by placing third here and remains at a good level of ability despite his advancing years.

7f – Dirt – Fast
98 – Snaafy
96 – Noble Citizen
95 – Halkin
91 – Bounty Quest
86 – League Champion
Analysis: A very quick time performance for this dirt race with the surface riding quicker than normal and Snaafy who is clearly a different animal in these hotter climates out in Dubai as his English form is nothing to write home about. Richard Hills produced his mount to strike and win going away after the leaders burnt themselves out paying the price for punishing early fractions. Noble Citizen once again ran a solid race in defeat and improved rapidly on his Carnival debut and the switch to dirt could be the reason for that. Halkin ran a strong race in third and is worthy of note when next running.

8f – Turf – Good
95 – Deem

93 – Front House
91 – Eva’s Request
90 – Peace Royale
88 – Happy Spirit

Analysis: A slowly run affair for this Group 3 event, and the Dalakhani filly Deem struck for the Saudi Arabian based trainer Jerry Barton. The filly unbeaten on dirt in Saudi despite having an out and out turf pedigree raised her game here to score easily at a whopping double figure price. Front House is worthy of another chance and will appreciate a much stronger pace than was on offer here and could be the one to take from the race.

10f – Dirt – Fast
94 – My Indy
93 – Happy Boy
93 – Asiatic Boy
87 – Gloria De Campeao
84 – Glen Nevis

Analysis: A fantastic tactical ride by Frankie Dettori who is showing renewed determination to get Godolphin back into the big time at the Carnival, as he tactically avoided a duel with Military Power. My Indy showed no signs of tail-flashing this time but ran eight points slower than when winning here last time. Happy Boy returned to something of old form after a disappointing spell but once again this could be down to Mubarak the Marvellous. Asiatic Boy posted a good effort over this longer trip but the Mike De Kock trained horse showed a tendency to hang fire under pressure and carried his head a little highly for my liking, but he should improve. If you were wanting to take odds about My Indy and Asiatic Boy in a match bet for the Dubai World Cup, I’d play 65-35 in favour of the Godolphin inmate, My Indy.

10f – Turf – Good
88 – Eastern Anthem
87 – Fiery Lad
82 – Captain Webb
82 – Arqaam
82 – Big Robert
Analysis: A slowly run race and a moderate time to boot but the way in which Eastern Anthem won this suggests he’s capable of running a lot faster than his rating of 88. Held up he was tanking through on heels of rivals into the straight, a complete contrast to his efforts in England last year but this could be down to the switch to wonder-maker Mubarak Bin Shafya who once again continues to bang the winners home with ruthless efficiency. Fiery Lad put up a solid effort for the Ger Lyons yard and Captain Webb doesn’t have the turn of foot at his disposal for the closing fractions, and will prove vulnerable time again.

Dubai Carnival – Week 3 Times

The analysis below is for the January 29th 2009 meeting at Nad Al Sheba (Dubai Racing Carnival). Some of the horses have since run and gone well, I’ll be updating with the latest card reviews during the week.

8f – Dirt – Normal
90 – Fares
89 – Grand Hombre
88 – Fateh Field
86 – Aamaaq
85 – Art Of War
Analysis: An improvement from Fares on his last figure (77) to take this dirt handicap. Grand Hombre returned to form back on dirt and was slightly unlucky not to be given more of a chance by his pilot. The race was run at an honest pace and the time looks about right. Fateh Field was well in on his turf number(96) posted here in Week 1, but couldn’t reproduce that effort first time up on dirt and should return to turf. Aamaaq has run (86) twice now in his last two starts so this looks an honest race with solid figures.

7.5f – Turf – Good
98 – Ragheed
97 – Yamal
94 – Mojito Royale
93 – Brave Tin Soldier
93 – Seihali
Analysis: A tough and punishing early pace saw this effort appear as very quick on the clock. I’m not overly sure on the form though. As Ragheed has a very in and out profile and isn’t one to trust massively. Yamal ran a good race in the fate of defeat and the efforts of Brave Tin Soldier can be upgraded, as can Underworld. Brave Tin Solider has already been mentioned in this column before but looks more of a dirt performer to me.

5f – Dirt – Normal
96 – Change Alley
96 – Tawaassol
93 – Bounty Quest
93 – Sarissa
91 – League Champion
Analysis: A solid time for this sprint and a good performance from the lightly raced Change Alley. Tawaassol showed a rejuvination on his old UK form and could be coming back the right way and the front three were clear of the remainder. League Champion ran to (92) when fourth here to Big City Man and looks a better animal at Jebel Ali.

10f – Dirt – Normal
93 – Dynamic Saint
91 – Moonquake
87 – Trust N Dustan
81 – Bennie Blue
78 – Irish Mayhem
Analysis: A solid pace for this mile and a quarter event and the front two once again pulled clear. Moonquake posted a career best effort of 91, after posting (75) when winning here at the start of January. He looks to be improving still. Irish Mayhem showed more promise back on dirt and encountered some trouble at the top of the straight but he still ran some 20lbs below his Polytrack form in the UK.

12f – Turf – Good
98 – Age Of Reason
93 – Young Mick
93 – Love Galore
90 – Far From Old
87 – Bon Spiel
Analysis: A steady gallop which was in line with standard fractions expected around here for this distance and trip. The winner improved markedly on his re-appearance and simply looked in a class of his own here as he strolled away from his rivals. Bon Spiel looked a non-stayer in my eyes and Young Mick ran well. Sanbuch didn’t run upto form of his last run and it appears his quirkyness still remains, despite having alot of ability.

9f – Turf – Good
90 – Silver Mist
90 – Third Set
89 – Kirklees
88 – Mashaahed
86 – With Interest
Analysis: A slow pace was set early and the front three are all capable of producing higher numbers than this. The winner was a strong selection by myself to win next time and he did so here despite being all out. Third Set once again ran to solid form and clearly thrives out here and Kirklees can certainly improve upon this coming from well off the pace in a race where off this sort of pace it’s hard to make up ground.

8f – Turf – Good
94 – Strategic News
92 – Furnace
92 – Fleeting Shadow
88 – Emirates Skyline
87 – Wise Dennis
Analysis: A strong pace and without doubt the strongest gallop set on the turf course all afternoon. This went with Strategic News who made up plenty of ground in the latter stages to fire home with a late rattle. He can improve on this and should take a similar event next time. The new recruit of Mubarak Bin Shafya; Furnace ran a big race on debut in Dubai and he could pick up a similar event also.

Dubai Carnival – Week 1 Times

I’ll start with the more recent (and first) meeting of the Dubai Racing Carnival, which was held last Thursday 15th January 2009.

7f – Dirt – Normal

86.63 – Sos Brilliante
84.63 – India Tiberna
81.63 – Purple Sage
79.13 – Jargelle
Analysis: Less than a thorough test by usual dirt standards here but a two useful performers in both the winner and second. Both with almost identical profiles the second was backed as if defeat was out of the question and both showed their quirks, with the winning flashing her tail and the second moody in the prelims. Both horses probably capable of improving on the numbers they’ve posted here but wouldn’t be ones to be taking short odds about.

7.5f – Turf – Good To Soft

97.42 – Silver Mist
96.17 – Fateh Field
90.92 – Seihali
88.17 – King Jock
Analysis: A good performance from the front two who pulled clear off a sound pace. The Mike De Kock trained winner came from a wide draw and has the potential to win again, those in behind the front two look likely to struggle as they failed to perform under sound fractions.

9f – Turf – Good To Soft
92.43 – Third Set
90.97 – Brave Tin Soldier
89.97 – Yasoodd
89.22 – With Interest
88.97 – Heartshead Maison
Analysis: A slow early pace certainly didn’t help Brave Tin Soldier who posted a blistering effort when running here last time and he probably did too much running mid-race to have anything left at the business end. The slow gallop certainly didn’t really test these and Third Set too can also be upgraded as he’s better off a stronger gallop. Heartshead Maison ran a huge race and too will be better suited to a strong gallop and over a slight bit further, that said the second placed horse interests me more than anything and is to be followed next time.

8f – Dirt – Normal
103.96 – My Indy
98.21 – Green Coast
94.46 – Don Renato
94.36 – Frosty Secret
91.86 – Gloria De Campeao
Analysis: The performance of the evening without a doubt but the winner showed worrying signs by flashing his tail when under pressure. That said he powered away from some useful rivals and the form looks strong with Green Coast filling second place (has won a handicap off 102). That said both Gloria De Campeao and Royal Vintage failed to run upto form and can be value for abit more than figures posted.

12f – Turf – Good To Soft
94.80 – Crime Scene
93.55 – Engrupido
90.55 – Age Of Reason
89.30 – Far From Old
89.05 – Sugar Ray
Analysis: Another race with slow early fractions and one which went to the admirable Crime Scene who goes well out here. The recent spin on dirt served him well and he picked up the race at a price. Engrupido ran well considering how the race panned out and remains of interest next time. Far From Old also ran well and is worth noting.

Non Carnival Time (Notables):
Big City Man 99.30 (08/01/2009)
Brave Tin Soldier 97.48 (01/01/2009)
Ekhtiaar 95.22 (26/12/2008)

Watchout for these three especially the top two.