viernes, 9 de marzo de 2012

"Super Saturday" de mucho nivel con la participación de Matusalen y Vagabond Shoes

Probablemente hablamos de la mejor edición en este 2012 del Dubai Racing Carnival desde que se instaurara allá por el año 2004, el nivel año a año ha ido creciendo y cada vez mejores caballos se desplazan a Dubai a disputar el meeting tanto a nivel internacional como a nivel local, las reuniones de este año han demostrado una enorme competitividad y multitud de caballos de nivel Listed-Grupo se han dejado ver disputando hanidcaps.

Llegados aquí, mañana se disputa el "Súper Sábado" jornada preparatoria clásica del meeting de la Dubai World Cup con un programa de gran calidad. Dos representantes del turf español Vagabond Shoes, propiedad de Javier Salmeán y Matusalen de la Cuadra Aller, disputan carreras de un alto nivel y de una dureza que roza el nivel de Grupo Internacional, así pues lo tendrán realmente complicado para figurar pero ya se sabe que en esto de las carreras de caballos mayores torres han caido.

Este es un profundo análisis de la jornada de la web del periodista/ analista de Turf residente en Dubai  Pat Cummings

Race 1 – $55,000 Maktoum Challenge for purebred Arabians – R3 (G1)
2,000 metres – Tapeta

The similarities between this race and the Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1) are obvious, but this is a top notch field that likely won’t change much between now and then. The total partnership between #13 SERAPHIN DU PAON, Olivier Peslier, the 2,000 metres – it all just seems so likely that the son of Akbar has the opportunity to pull a repeat performance, albeit in the less heralded of the Arabian races between now and the end of the month. His races on grass have been just fine, and he lost nothing to Nieshan last time over the grass, but his top effort was here on the Tapeta, and we give him the opportunity to do it again.
#5 NIESHAN is an obvious threat, and the one to likely turn the tables after finishing second in the Kahayla Classic a year ago. He goes well on all surfaces, but think that the top choice is there for a reason. We wouldn’t be surprised if #3 RAMI steps up with a good effort, clearly having been in need of the last start.
1st – #13 SERAPHIN DU PAON, 2nd – #5 NIESHAN, 3rd – #3 RAMI
Race 2 – $250,000 Al Bastakiya (Listed) sponsored by Emirates
1,900 metres – Tapeta

We’ve long maintained that the 2012 crop of 3-year-olds pursuing the UAE Derby (G2) prep races have been anything but stellar. Gone from this season are the strong contingent from Godolphin or Mike deKock’s main owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum. Instead, everyone has been taking turns. Singapore’s Dark Matter won the Guineas Trial with #5 KINGLET turning the tables in the UAE 2,000 Guineas. #4 BURANO, then a maiden, took the Meydan Classic on grass (pictured below, middle). Overall, the timings we’ve seen from their races, and the general apparent quality of these horses, pales in comparison to previous seasons, having seen the likes of Asiatic Boy, Royal Vintage, Honour Devil, Musir, and more. Even the fillies have left something to be desired, with #14 MARY FILDES romping to a huge lead behind a ridiculously slow tempo, and almost seeing it out but for Falls of Lora picking up the pieces.

Carrera muy abierta este Listed preparatorio para el UAE Derby, la distancia para Matusalen (SPA) puede ser buena visto lo que le costó seguir el paso en la anterior, no tiene por qué disgustarle la Tapeta y sinceramente creo que puede reveritr el resultado frente a los que disputaron la Meydan Classic, otra cosa será batir a Kinglet y Surfer. Interesante ver a Spoil the Fun (Rock of Gibraltar) recién llegado a Dubai de la mano de Cristophe Ferland.

That is what we are left with. Granted, the UAE Derby will be better, with plenty of horses lining up to take their shot at the big prize, but the interim has left plenty to consider, and forces the analyst to go outside the big making a selection.

#8 SURFER is well-regarded as probably the best maiden running in the UAE at the moment. His sire, Distorted Humor, is known for his getting offspring around two turns, this guy has been staying-on in all three of his recent UAE starts. In the Guineas, he traveled 6 metres (approximately 19 feet) more than winner Kinglet, and 10 metres (almost 33ft) more than #1 MICKDAAM, and was still only beaten by 2.25 lengths. The 6 metres equates to almost exactly 2.25 lengths, while 10 meters is just short of four lengths. If Richard Mullen can save any ground, a maiden whose breeding suggests longer is better, against a suspect group, could pull off the shocker, or at worst, claim a minor position as a longshot.

While Kinglet won last time, and both Burano and #3 NOOR ZABEEL ran very well next up, we just aren’t bowled over by his ability, and you’ll notice his stablemate Rassam is not here. There is every reason to think that Kinglet could do it again, but the really spellbinding performance we were expecting last time was anything but, and it has caused us great pause in backing him.
When seemingly all the 3-year-olds in country this season are taking turns, you have to get creative in some respect. We do that it here.
1st – #8 SURFER, 2nd – #5 KINGLET, 3rd – #3 NOOR ZABEEL
Race 3 – $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal (G3) sponsored by Skywards
1,200 metres – Tapeta

Hardly the best edition of this race that we’ve seen, but it’s mediocrity breeds a competitive race, surely also in the international betting markets.
#12 KRYPTON FACTOR (pictured below, right) ran very well over a three-race, 14-day stretch that saw the son of Kyllachy record two seconds and a win. That last race was third off the long break, and he really showed some guts against our top pick from that day, #9 HITCHENS (pictured below, left). What is interesting to us is that this guy ran the fastest 1,200 metres of the Carnival, when handily defeating Ariete Arrollador in January 26, and a return to that effort could put him on top here. He is going to have to be on the lead, however, as that is his style, and the presence of #4 ADDICTIVE DREAM could cause some issues with that. Throw in #11 DARK MATTER, who likes tossing his hat in the ring early, along with #2 ALAZEYAB, who has been known to go forward from time to time, and we just think the pace is going to be a strong one.

If this race were run at Pyatigorsk, a city in deep southern Russia, not terribly far from the home to the next Winter Olympics in Sochi, how could you not like Ergiyas? We’ve found some statistics that indicate he’s 16 for 21 lifetime, but otherwise, the ERA stats show him as 10 of 15. Either way, he’s trounced most of his competition and gets top Russian rider Khamzat Ulubaev aboard (he had a mount earlier in the Carnival for Herman Brown). Other notes we’ve found indicated this American-bred son of Breeders’ Cup Mile winner War Chant was named Russia’s champion miler. Either way, he’s off a long break, and the perceived quality of his competition makes it really difficult to suggest him in this spot. We have no idea how he goes in running, but if it’s from the front, he’s make a likely contested pace even hotter. Watch this time.
#14 GREEN BERET is twice a winner at the Carnival, but just doesn’t seem fast enough to get it done, even against this group.
All that being said, the single race that has impressed us most was #5 GLOBAL CITY’s run in the Golden Rose Stakes (Listed) at Lingfield. He was essentially left to be forgotten turning for home, lost a ton of ground, and mustered a blazing turn of foot on the all-weather there to just miss in a three horse photo over a fast heat, timed in 1:10.89. The pace in that event was strong, and they didn’t fly home, but Global City had plenty in the tank, and was loaded for bear. He will likely come from well out of it, and is a two-time course and distance winner. He ran in this race last year, coming off a strong second behind a slow pace when Charlie’s Moment won (and it should be noted #1 IVER BRIDGE LAD was third that day) back in February of 2011. With a hot tempo expected, and if ridden by Mickael Barzalona with patience (something we know he is capable of doing), he’s the pick.
Iver Bridge Lad, beaten three lengths in this race last year, is not without chance to grab a piece of the action late as well, especially on the move back to the Tapeta, a surface where has been competitive.
1st – #5 GLOBAL CITY, 2nd – #1 IVER BRIDGE LAD, 3rd – #9 HITCHENS
Race 4 – $175,000 Meydan Sprint Conditions, sponsored by Emirates Sky Cargo
1,000 metres – Turf

We haven’t hid from the fact that our opinions in these races have basically been rendered meaningless over the course of the Carnival – we just regularly get beaten over this trip.
The major new face is #9 REGALLY READY won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2) over five furlongs at Churchill Downs and gets back to that distance for the first time since that win. He has continued a trend seen from the 2011 BC, with no horse coming back to win in their subsequent effort. He also represents the first American shipper, from American connections, to make the trip to a non-DWC meeting since Curlin did it in 2008. For that, we should be excited. But realistically, you just don’t know what you are going to get in this spot, as the Americans are so unused to running over a straight course, with only California Flag grabbing a slice of the action in the 2010 Al Quoz Sprint, when third, and seemingly lost from time to time. Don’t forget, this is a prep race.
#7 NOCTURNAL AFFAIR (pictured below) has put in some flashing fractions in his win and second over this trip, and has looked really solid for trainer David Marnane. He has every right to get the call yet again, but we just have so much trouble in seeing any of these horses put back-to-back wins against such a competitive group.

#8 PROHIBIT carried 60 kilos last time and stayed on well. He traveled with a high head carriage early in the running and didn’t look all that comfortable, or to put it a different way, he looked like he was making his first start in 4.5 months. He won second up here last season and the weight break can only help. He’s the pick.
For another perspective on the Super Saturday programme, check out Dick’s Picks at Also view the Tipster page at
Race 5 – $200,000 Burj Nahaar (G3) sponsored by Emirates Sky Cargo
1,600 metres – Tapeta

Carrera durísima para Vagabond Shoes (Gb) esta preparatoria de la Dubai Mile que de por sí tiene más nivel que muchas de las ediciones pasadas de la Mile del día de la World Cup, con ganadores de Grupo como el fantástico Musir que ya destrozó a sus rivales en la Topkaki Cup, el mismo Rajsaman ganador del G.II Daniel Wildenstein o Gitano Hernando ganador en Sinagpour batiendo a River Jetez en su última salida.

Tapeta or turf, #1 MUSIR (pictured below) has been quality at Meydan over his career. He won the Al Rashidiya (G2) over 1,800 metres last time, defeating City Style who came back to score on grass over Rerouted on 23 February. Before that, his handy win in the Maktoum Challenge – R1 (G3), exhibited in the picture, was over stablemate Master of Hounds, who recorded two quality thirds since, and he beat off Mendip who was fourth, before returning to win the second round of the Maktoum Challenge. Form franking abounds for this fellow, who just seems his best at a mile, no matter where. Don’t forget, he demolished the course record at Veliefendi in the Topkapi Trophy in September when actually eased late in the race. A mile is his game, and he’s tough to ignore on top.

We are excited to see #2 DUX SCHOLAR wheeling back off short rest after a solid third in last week’s Zabeel Mile (G2). It was run over a ridiculously held-up pace, and he made up the most ground in a race that saw the top two finishers run like a carousel throughout. He had the fastest final fractions in the race, according to Trakus, outfinishing everyone, including Dubai City of Gold candidate Viscount Nelson. The shadowroll comes off, which might have him involved a bit sooner, and now he goes third off the freshening, and switches surfaces for the first time in his career. Realistically, that is a minor concern, but I think everyone generally believes he is also best at this trip, and while they might try to get him going in the Dubai Duty Free (G1) on the big night, his late speed could be enough to get the prize. Overall, we suggest he’s very capable for the win, but more likely for a placing behind the rail-starting choice.

#4 AFRICAN STORY was going well close home in the Firebreak (G3), but it wasn’t enough to catch longshot winner Sandagiyr, who came back to run a lacklustre fourth in the Zabeel Mile (G2) last week. While we know Bold Silvano, who was fifth in that race and clearly needed it, the rest of the field really didn’t bowl us over. Sixth placer Barbecue Eddie has since come back to win, but it’s a motley crew otherwise. Second home Tamaathul was tenth behind Delegator on grass, and then three lengths behind Barbecue Eddie when seventh last week. Against Musir, he’s tough to support.
#11 GITANO HERNANDO starts for the same connections makes his return in this event, which clearly has the feel of a race that is a prep for a return to grass. His win in Singapore was a strong one, and well-deserved, but you have to think the plans are for beyond this race, and that makes him a play against.
#13 SOORAAH clearly enjoys the Tapeta as her win on 16 February showed. She does get a sex allowance here, so that can’t hurt, and several she beat last time have come back to run well against Barbecue Eddie, who seems the main form line in a race in which he isn’t running.

1st – #1 MUSIR, 2nd – #2 DUX SCHOLAR, 3rd – #13 SOORAAH
Race 6 – $250,000 Dubai City of Gold (G2), sponsored by Skywards
2,410 metres – Turf

Just a few of the questions presented to those doing the form for this race…
  1. Is #8 CAVALRYMAN the only pace in the race?
  2. Can #12 SONGCRAFT (pictured below) remain unbeaten?
  3. Does #2 CAMPANOLOGIST win this race again, coming off the layoff, the same way he did it in 2010?
  4. #6 KREEM may have won on dirt last time, but he seems better on grass – is he? He has the breeding to do it well.
  5. How good was the competition behind #9 ZANZAMAR last time?
  6. How will #15 VISCOUNT NELSON handle the extra ground?
  7. #16 LAAJOOJ seemed a winner last time, can he rebound off the wide draw? (This race was won from stall 16 in 2009 by the filly, Front House).
  8. Can #11 INDIAN DAYS take his top Veliefendi form elsewhere?
And those are just a few of the questions…all of which are valid, and all of the above horses have every reason to stake a claim in the end result.
So – what do we do?

How about ignore all of those questions and just pick #10 SHIMRAAN? He broke his maiden over 2,400 metres, and has run well over that distance but was often asked to
go over shorter, and with occasional success. But you absolutely, positively, MUST watch his last race. As the post-race stewards’ report indicates – “Dettori reported that Shimraan hung inwards badly throughout, which resulted in him being unable to ride the gelding in the normal manner.” At no point in time did Frankie ever really get to riding the gelding, and it was still a strong first-up effort.
So what happens now? He gets an outer draw, goes two turns which should allow him to settle into an easier stride, and they add the shadowroll. Add more ground to the trip, and a more comfortable ride, and the end result might be a trophy. On the big night in three weeks, we don’t know if he’ll have the class, but this is a prep for some looking to the main event, and you have to analyze it as such. We worry about the full construct of the pace, regardless, but this guy is the pick to improve after not even coming close to a top effort last time, and still acquitting himself well.

1st – #10 SHIMRAAN, 2nd – #2 CAMPANOLOGIST, 3rd – 12 SONGCRAFT
Race 7 – $400,000 Maktoum Challenge – R3 (G1), sponsored by Emirates
2,000 metres – Tapeta

#8 TREBLE JIG knows no other way than to go forward and hope to stay – we’d be shocked if he did, but the most progressive horse in the UAE this season, and winner of the Jebel Ali Mile (Listed) and Jebel Ali Stakes (Listed) over 1600m, and 1900m, respectively, is a massive presence in this race. Add to it that #5 HAATHEQ, #7 CAPPONI, and #12 SILVER POND all show a penchant for racing with prominence, and this has the making of a very fast renewal, and therefore, guides almost all of our tipping in this race.

We picked #1 MONTEROSSO to win the Dubai City of Gold (G2) last season off the shelf and clearly, the break has been longer this time. He truly is the fresh horse, and was closing like a shot into the dawdling pace of the 2011 Dubai World Cup, which surely makes him a consideration in here. We liked him last year because of his likely ability to see out the running in a short field on grass, but this is a full field with a pace that is going to be fast, and it might compromise his chances.
#11 FLY DOWN is significantly interesting in this spot. He certainly seems to have acclimated to the Middle East to a greater degree this year after a dismal effort in last year’s Dubai World Cup (G1). We have to wonder whether or not he gets over the Tapeta, or if you could draw a line through his run here last year when being significantly hampered going into the first turn, and more or less, throwing in the towel.
His win two back in the Crown Prince Cup (G2) was a strong one, and the horse he beat handily in that race, Robust Wish, came back to run fifth in the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup (G1) last out, behind Kreem and Fly Down. Here’s the thing – Fly Down has always been a horse to relax from well off the pace and attack from there in the late stages. That strategy has also failed plenty, as he was winless in eight starts before his Crown Prince Cup success. In that race, he sat leading the mid-division runners, and slowly progressed into contention and was asked for a premium effort with about 450 metres left to run, and devastated the field. In the King’s Cup, Johnny Murtagh, in specifically to ride this horse, sent Fly Down to the lead with about 650 metres to run, and he seemed to idle after a while. Now, on the cutback to 2,000 metres, he offers some intrigue to us against a field that, while impressive, leads us to think he has a chance. Camilo Ospina getting the ride back is also quite encouraging, consider he lost it to Murtagh’s appearance. The jock is going to want to prove himself on a very big, very international stage. Getting the best out of Fly Down in the Dubai World Cup might be tough, but this “prep” race is manageable.
The former Willie Haggas runner #10 GREEN DESTINY is now with Herman Brown, and he surely is one who has done some of his best running when off the break. His only start away from grass, however, was his first race over the Polytrack at Kempton in what is arguably his worst lifetime effort. The horse he beat in the Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial (G3) at Newbury in September came back to run a decent second behind another horse bandied about for the Dubai World Cup, Beaten Up. He has to prove this one to us before considering him a World Cup contender, let alone the winner of this heat.
Mike deKock told us this week that #2 BOLD SILVANO is going very well, but that this will be the class test for the Vodacom Durban July (G1) winner. This is in fact the toughest test for him on Tapeta, and also, the first time he’s made relatively consecutive appearances on the track since his key South African championship campaign. Drawn well, he’ll likely settle and greatly appreciate the drop back to 2,000 metres, as everyone relatively acknowledged 1,600 was well short of his best. The pace should aid his chances here, and he absolutely has to come on for the last run, arguably too sharp for him.
#3 PRINCE BISHOP really impressed us on winning two starts back, and didn’t fire in the Maktoum Challenge – R2 (G2), stipping his streak at two since being gelded. He could improve into the frame.
It would be easy to look at #9 MENDIP as a major force in this race. While Godolphin has questioned his ability to stay over longer distances, he LOOKED – and we stress – LOOKED like 2,000 metres would be no problem. Watch the gallop out though – he completely quit after the line, and struggled really shaking loose from Haatheq in that race.
#15 BIONDETTI, who is unlikely to draw into the race, ran a monster race and flashed home, galloping out well past Mendip, and finally looks to be coming around to his full potential. If he draws in, we want him. According to the Trakus sectional times from the race, Biondetti ran the fastest final 100 and 300 metres in the last race, and had the second fastest final 700 metres, behind only Mendip. If luck falls his way, we’re picking him to pull the shocker.
There is a striking risk-reward proposition in this sport. If you go for the gusto, you are often likely to feel the sting much more than the joy of success, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Enough clichés. The pace in this race is likely to replicate things similar to what Fly Down saw in Saudi Arabia. We’ve followed their racing much more closely this year than ever before. If, and it’s a big IF, Fly Down handles the Tapeta in a fashion different to what he did after getting a rough run in last year’s Dubai World Cup, when he arguably was up against it, he absolutely has the chance to improve enough to win this race. Camilo Ospina has something to prove being back on him, and unless Biondetti gets a draw in, we just don’t have any other overwhelming opinion.

1st – #11 FLY DOWN, 2nd – #2 BOLD SILVANO, 3rd – #9 MENDIP
Race 8 – $300,000 Jebel Hatta (G1), sponsored by Emirates
1,800 metres – Turf

How about this race having the top three finishers from last year’s Dubai Duty Free (G1)? Awesome – what a way to end the day.
While the gang with #12 RIVER JETEZ would likely love to win this race, they’d probably prefer to take the spoils in the $5 million main event. The same theory applies to #3 PRESVIS (pictured below winning the Duty Free) and #8 WIGMORE HALL, who won this race last year from the aforementioned Luca Cumani-trainee. When coming off the layoff last season, River Jetez needed the race. Presvis was listless behind a slow pace last time and will likely go third-up in the Duty Free, so it’s tough to figure what happens here. Wigmore Hall won this straight off the plane, in his first-up run from 2011. A mish-mash of opportunity for all of them, but none will deny $5 million is the likelier happy ending to their Dubai trips. As such, while it comes with risks, we choose to ignore all three on top.

The bottom line with #14 MASTER OF HOUNDS is that the barn prefers him on the turf. When it comes down to it, he’s just a maiden winner, and nothing more. While he stakes a claim for the fight, he just never has enough at the end to get in front, and that’s a troubling trend, especially for a horse who has found himself in the tougher of the two thoroughbred Group 1 races on the night.
#9 MUTAHADEE has been the most progressive turf runner of the Carnival season, with glowing wins over Viscount Nelson, franked when he came back to win the Al Fahidi Fort (G2) and his ridiculously eased-up win over Anaerobio. Mike deKock does not shy away from noting that the son of Encosta De Lago does nothing in the morning, completely failing to impress, and it makes us wonder whether or not there is a thought the wheels might fall off at some point. Still, he’s just done it so easily and will be a major force. Chances are this is the best price you’ll get on him for the entire Carnival.
#1 PISCO SOUR took to the Tapeta like oil to water, backing right on out and showing no involvement. He is obviously better on the grass, and should show some pace. While this field is tougher than he has ever seen before, some improvement would not be unexpected.
#4 ALBAASIL has been very good in two starts, and the third-up runs from trainer Doug Watson are normally the best from his barn, which has held good form all season. The problem, potentially, is that 1,800 metres is too much, having been tipped off in both his runs while leading late. His problems are very similar with #7 DERBAAS in terms of getting in front over the longer trip, and both would appear likely to run similar races – forward, and hope to hang in as long as possible. The lack of a solid tempo is likely to help both.
#6 RIO DE LA PLATA and #11 DUBAWI GOLD will both be forgetten for various reasons, but their top form over trips similar to this puts them in the mix as well. Dettori riding Rio De La Plata won’t keep him too far out of mind, and each of their placings behind Zazou and Excelebration are quality. You just can’t pick them all, though.
And in the end, we also can’t forget #2 CITY STYLE, whose clearly outrun his pedigree but just keeps tossing in quality efforts. He exploded late last time and won easy, but he has not been at his best when facing top company, and he gets that here. It’s a class test, but at least we know he is in form.
This is a tough way to end the night, but we think Mutahadee offers the best value considering how he’s been backed in previous Carnival starts. At the same time, we wouldn’t be surprised, at all if any of the aforementioned horses gets the win.

1st – #9 MUTAHADEE, 2nd – #8 WIGMORE HALL, 3rd – #1 PISCO SOUR

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