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Sheema Classic: Cirrus des Aigles in focus
by Franco Raimondi / Globeform
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Cirrus des Aigles developed into the best horse racing over 2000 metres in Europe last year, and could also have gone for the Dubai World Cup (G1), but turf racing suits him best and he must be one of the favourites as he runs in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1).

Stretching out to 2400 metres is no problem, as this tough gelding has shown top class for at up to 2500 metres. The Meydan oval should suit him well and this French challenger really has a lot going for him. He may have lost his prep race at home, against World Cup contender Zazou, but that was just a starting point and in a race staged over an artificial surface. We can expect him to run a bigger race on World Cup night. Much bigger.

He came into his own as a five-year-old last year, when he topped an excellent campaign with a win over the heavy favourite So You Think in the Champion Stakes (G1) over 2000 metres at Ascot in September. So You Think, likely favourite for the Dubai World Cup (G1), had previously beaten Derby winned Workforce in the Eclipse Stakes (G1) in England and the top class filly Snow Fairy in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) on home soil. Not many horses are capable of matching strides with So You Thing, and with such form in the book, Cirrus des Aigles came into the reckining for the World Cup, but a test run over the new Polytrack at Chantilly outside Paris on March 3 revealed that he is happier on turf. Cirrus des Aigles was beaten in the Prix Hotel Meydan, by the German trained, and his trainer Corrine Barande-Barbe immediately said that she would run him on turf at Meydan. “He was not as explosive as he is on turf”, she reasoned.

When racing over the lawn, Cirrus des Aigles has been a most profitable performer in the world. Besides beating So You Think in the Champion Stakes, he was also victorious in the Grand Prix de Deauville (G2) over 2500 metres and the La Coupe (G3) over 2000 metres at Longchamp last year. Cirrus des Aigles is as versatile as he is tough, and runs to his best over distances ranging from 2000 to 2500 metres. He was a good second to Sarafina, one of the best fillies in Europe, in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (G1) over 2400 metres last June. On that day, he proved himself to be efficient around a left handed track, similar to Meydan. Going back to springtime we find another interesting result, as Cirrus des Aigles was second to the world famous mare Goldikova in the Prix d'Ispahan (G1).

After winning the Champion Stakes, the son of Even Top took a break in preparation for the Hong Kong Cup (G1) at Sha Tin in December, but he did not enjoy a clear run that day and finished fifth, 2 lengths behind the locally trained winner California Memory. Cirrus des Aigles has one big advantage over his rivals at Meydan, namely his experience. This horse has done really well over a variety of courses, at different distances, and not much seems to faze him. When in peak condition, he is some runner.

Globeform 126

Last update: 2012-03-26 08:57:46 (First published: 2012-03-26 08:33:37 )

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