Dubai Racing Carnival – Night 3 Roundup

Another good quality Meydan card for their third meeting of the Dubai Racing Carnival (#DRC), and without doubt the talk of the night was the explosive performance from MUSIR who got back to winning ways at The Carnival under Christophe Soumillon.

The six-year-old son of Redoute’s Choice put in a masterful performance on his first run back since his Veliefendi win in early September, and surely must have surprised even Mike De Kock with the manner of victory here – in a time just 0.08sec off the track record set by Skysurfers in 2011. Given the way he was ridden throughout the final furlong, it wouldn’t be insurmountable to suggest he could have set a new track record has he been ridden out to the line, but it is understandable with other targets in mind why Soumillon allowed him to coast home inside the final half furlong.

The performance that caught my eye was by that of stable-mate Master Of The Hounds, who hadn’t been seen since splashing through the mud in the Belmont Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in the summer of 2011. He was a very good second here in the UAE Derby earlier in 2011 when narrowly worn down late by Khawlah, and judging by the run he posted here he has a major say in the outcome of the Dubai World Cup at the end of March.

Beaten just 3L by Musir in the end, Master Of The Hounds ran 9m further than his stable-mate which accounts for roughly 3.75L which given you’d expect Musir to be capable of pulling out a little extra under pressure would put these pair very close together indeed if both got ideal perfect trips.

A quick look back at the race replay footage on YouTube tells you just how big a performance Master Of The Hounds has put up to run second from as wide as he has, the remainder of the field seem to all (roughly) stay in the same position up the straight, on a day where the home straight at Meydan was riding like a scene of the travelator from Gladiators (thanks goes to Liam Kirk for that one).

My pace figures suggest Musir posted the best performance in the race overall, but Master Of The Hounds closed off the 6F -1M sectional the fastest in the race, and with an extra couple of furlongs and a better trip through the race, I think he is a live World Cup bet at this early stage – (16/1 StanJames, Bet365).

Earlier on the card there is little doubt in my mind that the Singapore raider Dark Matter stole the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial through the benefit of a perfect trip. Trained by Steven Burridge this win will provide great encouragement for fellow compatriots but I can’t see how this horse can get as good a trip as he did on Thursday, and until he does there is absolutely no way I can see him confirming form. [frame_right src=”” href=”#”]Dark Matter[/frame_right]

Ted Durcan rode the rail route aboard the son of Stratum, and had a perfect tow through from the free-going Rassam who raced with the choke out throughout. Once Rassam gave way at the furlong pole, Durcan allowed his mount to slip through up the inside and go and win his race off the back of very modest pace figures throughout – citing him the beneficiary of brilliant placing.

Watching back the replay it isn’t hard to be immediately drawn to Kinglet who was out with the washing being ridden along shortly before turning for home, but the way he has accelerated down the outside (particularly inside the last furlong) signalled to me that this horse is by far the best animal in the race, and that is also what my pace figures tell me. On my pace figures alone, Kinglet comes out on top by a margin of (+14) which may not seem like a lot, but when you factor in that he ran 14m further than the winner – which equates to around 5.5L, it is a somewhat brilliant performance to get as close as he did, especially given he ran the final furlong in 11.62sec (thanks Trakus).

I am extremely confident that Kinglet will turn out to be the best of these horses, and I fully expect him to account for the UAE 2000 Guineas when these next meet, and I wouldn’t rule out a possible tilt at the UAE Derby on World Cup Night in March perhaps?

Two other horses from the race which come out with some credit are both Prepared and Mickdaam, who finished 7th and 6th in the race come out 3rd and 4th best on my figures and I could see these horses taking a hand over further than this distance, and could both potentially pick up a decent handicap along the way.
[frame_right src=”” href=”#”]Naqshabban[/frame_right]

Away from these two principal races we had a couple of rather interesting middle distance handicaps on the turf, with the first of those being won by Naqshabban and Frankie Dettori. I had previously blogged the night before about what shocking value the 2-1 available price was for Naqshabban, but the way he won this suggests he will be winning more races at ‘The Carnival’.
Sat in roughly second place throughout off what was a pretty modest pace, he made his bid for glory shortly after turning into the straight and won the race a touch cosily in the end, outclassing his opposition with the benefit of a race run to suit his tactical position. A horse which caught my eye in this race was Emirates Champion, who has a pretty dire record on turf compared to Tapeta – but this was a really promising effort back in third. Considering he was towards the rear and making ground up the inside rail turning for home, but was hampered by Glens Diamond running into the rail, and had to re-gather his momentum after taking back on the heels of Glens Diamond before launching another effort up the home straight – plugging on into around a five length third at the wire.

If you take into account the trouble encountered, and where he was positioned in a tactically run affair, my pace figures suggest he could have pressed Jedi for second, and would probably have just taken it at the line – a return to Tapeta would be an interesting next move for this son of Haafhd but he is rated 10lb’s higher over it off 111, which makes life difficult for him, and rules out almost all handicap races.

The second of the two races of interest for me on the turf was the last race on the card, a handicap run over ten furlongs and won by the lightly-raced Songcraft who extended his unbeaten run to three. The manner in which this son of Singspiel recorded this victory suggested to me he isn’t going to be a handicapper for long, but he has been raised 5lb to 110 on both surfaces so has the option of taking in one more handicap for further education, before being pitched into group company. [frame_right src=”” href=”#”]Songcraft[/frame_right]

My pace figures for the race pretty much fall in uniform with the official result. The front pairing of Songcraft and Belgian Bill pretty much fall in-line with each other’s (very closely matched) until Songcraft put in a big final quarter mile and sealed the race with plenty of petrol in the tank.

I would expect both of these horses to go onto better things throughout the remainder of the Dubai Racing Carnival 2012, and a possible audacious tilt at the Dubai Sheema Classic wouldn’t be the worst suggestion on the cards for Songcraft, who clearly has plenty of class about him, in what will be an open year – but will he step forward and make himself known on a wider scale on his next start? We’ll have to wait and see!

Belgian Bill on the other hand has been raised 2lb for that effort to a mark of 104, which allows connections the opportunity to explore further handicap prizes before stepping him up in grade as the Carnival draws on. On the basis of this I see him as an absolute good thing for any handicap at around this distance, or possibly a furlong or so shorter – and would be strongly on his side when he next lines up (providing he isn’t a ridiculous price that is!).

Of the remainder I have to give a mention of Nationalism, who comes out third best on my ratings and after having a very slow start ran faster than Belgian Bill from 4 furlongs onwards, before clocking the fastest rating in the field between 6F-1M, and wasn’t far off Songcraft (-6) between 1M-1M2F and that is without factoring in that he ran wider round the last bend, and covered 9m more than the winner (approx. 2.25L), which would give him an honourable third placed position, narrowly ahead of Mikhail Glinka.

Trained now by Mahmood Al Zarooni, the Pivotal gelding remains of interest in his next couple of races providing he gets the right sort of trip to run at, and has been dropped 1lb off the back of that recent effort. I am almost certain he’ll take some beating in a similar handicap with better luck, and if he doesn’t win one he should go very close judged on this showing.

That is all for my views on the meeting from 12th January 2012. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post and have hopefully gained a little extra insight into the racing over at Meydan.

For those of you on Twitter you can follow us @OHRacing, and for all things Meydan you can use the hashtags #Meydan, and also #DRC.

Thanks for reading.

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.