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Dubai World Cup

by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Meydan:: The English trained Wigmore Hall, who has been a familiar face at the Carnival in recent years, may go into unknown territory on Dubai World Cup night, as he is under consideration for the Dubai Gold Cup (G3), run over 3200 metres. That would quite a change for this globetrotting gelding, as he has previously been a leading player in two editions of the Dubai Duty Free (G1), staged over 1800 metres. There is good reason to believe that a drastic step up in distance can reap dividends.

Wigmore Hall won the Northern Dancer Stakes (G1) over 2400 metres at Woodbine in Toronoto, Canada last year, and his running style gives would make him an interesting runner over 3200 metres. He is always at the back early on, and delivers his challenge with a strong 'off-the-pace' run at the finish. This way of racing has made him a very good horse in races where the early pace is hot, and tiring horses are coming back to him at the business end of the contest, but it has also made him vulnerable in slowly run races. Those contests are deadly for closers like him, as it is virtually impossible to catch up with horses quickening from the front end after having been allowed to stroll along at a moderate pace early on.

The son of High Chaparral came from last to first when beating Al Khali by a neck at Woodbine last October. The ex-English runner Forte Dei Marmi took third and Germany's representative checked in fourth. Wigmore Hall had previously finished seventh, 3 lengths behind Little Mike, in the slowly-run Arlington Million (G1) in Chicago. At last year's World Cup night, he was a staying-on fourth in the Duty Free, beaten by Cityscape, Mutahadee and City Style. That was Wigmore Hall's second crack at the valuable contest. He finished third to Presvis in the 2011 edition, after having won the Jebel Hatta (G2) over the same 1800 metres three weeks previously.

The Duty Free, or the Sheema Classic, could also be his chosen race at Meydan, though trainer Michael Bell has expressed an interest in trying Wigmore Hall in a staying contest. If it works out it opens up new options for the upcoming season in England, as he would fit nicely into contests like the Yorkshire Cup (G2) at York, Henry II Stakes (G3) at Sandown Park, perhaps even the Ascot Gold Cup (G1) though that is over a gruelling 2 miles - , and the Goodwood Cup (G2) later in the summer.

If Wigmore Hall proves efficient over staying distances it would be a bit against his pedigree. True, he is a son of an Epsom Derby (G1) winner who also won the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) twice, and his dam's sire, Theatrical, also won the 12-furlong Breeders' Cup Turf (G1), but Wigmore Hall's dam was not one for stamina tests. Her name was Love And Laughter and she won over 7 furlongs (1400 metres) as a juvenile. Her better known half-sister Kissing The Camera won the Prix Volterra (LR) over 1600 metres at Chantilly as a three-year-old. Wigmore Hall's second dam, Hoh Dear, was a a smart and speedy juvenile filly in England who went on to win a Grade 3 over a mile in Canada. Like Wigmore Hall, Hoh Dear was trained by Michael Bell in Newmarket.


Last update: 2013-03-23 06:24:59 (First published: 2013-03-13 04:49:02 )

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