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AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE ROUND III (G1)
Meydan 9 March 2012 - 2000 metres (10 furlongs) Tapeta track
1 - LITTLE MIKE
One of the best turf runners in North America, landed the Breeders's Cup Turf over 1 ½ miles (2400 metres) in his last start 2012, also successful in big races over 1600 and 2000 metres.
Pros: Racing over his optimum trip on his first start at Meydan and well capable of firing on all cylinders after a break. Loves it if allowed a 'soft lead' and should not be let away early by his rivals.
Cons: Though it's his first run on Tapeta and his inside post means he will have to go forward from the start.
2 - RED BISHOP
Ran third in this event 12 months ago, and finished third also behind Hunter's Light in round two of the Maktoum Series on February 7.
Pros: Plenty of experience and top class rider Moore on board again.
Cons: Seems fully exposed now, and is what he is; a noth below the top.
3 - TRAILBLAZER
Top class Japanese turf runner who managed to transform his good form to the competitive Californian circuit last year, when he wound up running fourth to Little Mike in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Pros: Tough and versatile, and he has the speed for 1600 metres yet stays 2400 metres.
Cons: Having his first run on Tapeta and was no match to Little Mike at Santa Anita last autumn.
4 - HUNTER'S LIGHT
Late blooming Godolphin talent, impressed with big wins in Italy and Turkey last year, and seems to continue the progress this term, easy winner of the second round of the Al Maktoum Series, when well clear on runner-up Steeler.
Pros: He is the 'now horse' and coming off a big win over course and distance. Barzalona on board doen't hurt either.
Cons: Yet to beat a proper Group One horse, and meets some here.
5 - MONTEROSSO
Won Dubai World Cup 2012, after having prepped by finishing fourth in this event. Has the ability but it's been seen just the once.
Pros: Been, there, done it...
Cons: Coming back from a long break, and ran very poorly on his last outing in 2012. Where does he currently stand?
6 - SURFER
Broke his maiden as recently as three starts back. Then won again and ran second to Hunter's Light in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III (G2), with some smart names behind. Were they all way below their best?
Pros: We know he likes the track, the distance.
Cons: But is he up to matching strides with G1 winners?
7 - SAINT BAUDOLINO
Excellent form on softish turf in France, where he was twice unlukly to be beaten in Group One contests, below par behind Hunter's Light on his seasonal debut but that was just a starting point to the campaign.
Pros: Lightly raced talent and open to further improvement this year.
Cons: Has 5 ½ lengths to make up on Hunter's Light, who held fitness advantage when they met last month.
8 - DADDY LONG LEGS
Won the UAE Derby over 1900 metres at this track and fourth in Irish 2,000 Guineas last year, but has not been able to follow up on since.
Pros: Mike de Kock and Christophe Soumillon is always a powerful combination.
Cons: Let's face it, the 2012 UAE Derby was rather a weak affair.
9 - TREASURE BEACH
Seasoned ex-Irish runner with wins in the Irish Derby (G1) and Secretariat Stakes (G1) to his name, but winless in seven starts last year, when he was twice well behind Little Mike in North America.
Pros: Won on seasonal debut as a three-year-old (beating Nathaniel in England) and also ran well first time up last term, when fourth to Cirrus des Aigles in the Sheema Classic.
Cons: Plenty of mileage on the clock now and this is his first time on Tapeta.
10 - JAMR
Winner of four races in lesser company, taking a big step up in class. Almost four lengths behind Kassiano (who won again next out) in February.
Pros: He is a game and genuine runner who always tries his best
Cons: But his best will not be enough to give him a chance in this company.
11 - MENDIP
Won first round of the Al Maktoum series in 2011 and landed round two last season, before running well below form both in the third round and the World Cup. Beaten 7 lengths when fifth to Hunter's Light on his reappearance last month.
Pros: He has the 'back class' as they say, is efficient around Meydan, and should not be dismissed quite yet.
Cons: His last two runs of the 2011 / 12 season were worryingly poor.
12 - HAATHEQ
Favourite when winning the Jebel Ali Mile Prep in January and performed well again to run second in the Jebel Ali Mile (G3) two weeks later. Respectable effort in Firebreak Stakes (G3) at Meydan in February; kept on well for fourth behind Moonwalk In Paris.
Pros: Comes here in top form.
Cons: Seems to be better over shorter, and needs to improve markedly to beat the best.
13 - KASSIANO
The big improver at this year's Carnival, won for the third time on the bounce when ripping a good field of handicappers apart nine days ago, and fully deserves to take his chance.
Pros: He's been winning for fun, and he's on an upward curve.
Cons: Lacks experience in races as tough as this one and may be better over further.
Last update: 2013-03-07 09:32:57 (First published: 2013-03-07 07:27:52 )
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