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by Handicappers / Globeform
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Leading Al Quoz sprint runners


Mike de Kock
provides the likely favourite in this valuable turf sprint, run over a straight course. An absolute star at home in South Africa, Shea Shea has made two previous starts at Meydan this year. His first, under a tough weight in handicap company, resulted in a seventh place finish behind Medicean Man. His second, in the Meydan Sprint (LR) three weeks prior to World Cup night, resulted in an impressive 2 1/2-length win over Sole Power, who he will meet again here. Shea Shea was drawn in stall 14 that day, and it proved to give him a nice path to success. He came with a powerful burst of speed at the finish, and flew up by the stands' side rail to win quite comfortably. A repeat performance would make him a tough nut to crack on World Cup night. His win in the prep race was far from surprising. Eleven months ago, Shea Shea landed the Computaform Sprint (G1) over 1000 metres at Turfontein beating Magico by 2 lengths after leading the field from start to finish. Back in 2011, Shea Shea took the Golden Horse Casino Sprint (G1), a race run over 1200 metres.

SOLE POWER, a tough and experienced Irish trained sprinter, ran second in the Al Quoz Sprint last year, and he is back for another crack at the big pot. He has won a Group One sprint in England, he loves racing over 1000 metres, or 5 furlongs if you prefer, and he ran yet another fine race when second to Al Quoz favourite Shea Shea in the Meydan Sprint (LR) on Super Saturday. Shea Shea proved far too good on the day and beat Sole Power by 2 lengths, but Ed Lynam's star was coming back after a 153-day layoff and he needed the run. His peak is meant to come on March 30, like it did last year. He was just 1 lengths behind the top class Australian mare Ortensia then, and followers of international racing have since become very familiar with her name. She went on to win the Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) and King George Stakes (G2) in England later in the season and was one of the very best turf sprinters around. Sole Power is not amongst the quickest early on his race, but stays on at the finish. He just got up for second last year, a neck in front of Joy And Fun who won the Al Quoz Sprint in 2010.

SPIRIT QUARTZ was fifth in the Meydan Sprint (LR), beaten just under four lengths by Shea Shea. Judged on that form, this English trained and Qatar Racing Ltd owned contender will have his work cut out here, but he has shown better form in England and should strip a bit fitter on the big day. Like Sole Power, he had not raced since last year's Prix de l'Abbaye (G1) in Paris, where he flashed early speed but tired in the heavy ground and finished well down the field. He was so much better on his preceding start, when running a game second in the Nunthorpe Stakes (G1) over the minimum trip at York in England. Only Ortensia got the better of him that day, as Spirit Quartz surrendered by just a neck after a tremendous final furlong run. He led 100 yards out but Ortensia swooped late to beat him in the dying strides. Hamish McGonagall finished third, and subsequently filled the same place in the 'Abbaye'. Spirit Quartz is a talented runner, but remarkably he has not won a race since taking a G3 sprint in Italy in May, 2011. Dubai World Cup night would be a good day to regain winning form!

Published: 2013-03-11 08:58:08

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