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Curlin will be a very short priced favourite for the Dubai World Cup (G1) at Nad Al Sheba on March 29. To say that he is in the same class as the outstanding 2000 winner Dubai Millennium, or the legendary Cigar, may be a bit premature – but the North American star stands head and shoulders above all his likely rivals.
Curlin will be a very short priced favourite for the Dubai World Cup (G1) at Nad Al Sheba on March 29. To say that he is in the same class as the outstanding 2000 winner Dubai Millennium, or the legendary Cigar, may be a bit premature – but the North American star stands head and shoulders above all his likely rivals on the big night.
He enjoyed an easy race when winning a handicap over the same 2000 metres as the World Cup in February, when he was never put under any sort of pressure and won easily by 2 ¼ lengths from Familiar Territory. The runner-up, who was coming off a good win over the same course and distance, was carrying 7kgs (15lbs) less than Curlin. It was an extremely solid seasonal debut by Curlin, who looks even stronger than he was last year, when he was Globeform Horse of The Year.
4 ch c Smart Strike – Sherriff’s Deputy / Deputy Minister
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
As a three-year-old, Curlin won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) in great style at Monmouth Park, to round off a campaign yielding six wins from nine starts.
Curlin was unraced at two, and thus playing catch-up with his rivals on the way to the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he ran a respectable third behind Street Sense and Hard Spun. He beat the Kentucky Derby winner by a head when they met again in the Preakness Stakes (G1), but was outstayed by the top filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes (G1). A mile and a half may not have been the biggest problem that day. It made more of an impact that he was giving Rags to Riches five pounds – which equals over three lengths at that distance. And she is pretty good too. She beat him by a head, while the third placed Tiago (a G1 winner before and after) was 5 ½ lengths behind.
A break followed for Curlin, and we did not see him again until in the Haskell Invitational (G1) at Monmouth nearly two months later. He ran an even race there, and checked in third, behind Any Given Saturday and Hard Spun. The latter had now beaten Curlin twice, though he was third and 4 lengths behind him in the Preakness. The final showdown came at the Breeders’ Cup, and Curlin proved to be the champion, as he beat Hard Spun by 4 ½ lengths. Awesome Gem finished third, Street Sense was fourth and Tiago finished fifth.
On his way to the Classic, Curlin went up against older horses at Belmont Park, in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) and he produced a much, much better performance there than in the Haskell. Coming with strong and determined run in the straight, he beat Lawyer Ron by a neck. Political Force was 4 lengths further adrift in third. On this day, we knew that Curlin was for real, and we also knew that the North American three-year-olds were well up to scratch.
Curlin ran to Globeform 134+ at the Breeders’ Cup, having performed to GF 130+ at Belmont Park four weeks earlier. The BC Classic was his first start over a sloppy track, all his other runs have been on fast tracks. He will be hard to beat at Nad Al Sheba on March 29, and after that Curlin can expect a vacation, before being prepared for an autumn campaign leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita in October. If he keeps his enthusiasm and form, and stays sound, he has every chance of emulating Tiznow by landing back-to-back wins in the championship race.
But first, the Dubai World Cup!
Last update: 2008-03-10 05:30:45 (First published: 2008-03-09 08:23:34 )
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