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Well Armed, battle-hardened warrior
by Handicappers / Globeform
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When he met Albertus Maixmus in a Grade 1 contest last year, Well Armed came out much the best, winning the Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita from Tiago, another high-class Californian, with ‘Albertus’ back in third.

Still, the future betting has Albertus Maximus as a clear favourite for the Dubai World Cup (G1) , while Well Armed is a 6-1 shot. Is this a case when we reach for the American phrase “go figure”?

Perhaps not, as Albertus Maximus has improved since that meeting last autumn, and won two big races in the US, once with Well Armed well behind. Well Armed, on the other hand, has the advantage of experince with Nad Al Sheba. He was third last year, behind Curlin and Asiatic Boy.

The six-year-old Eoin Harty trained World Cup contender also raced at Nad Al Sheba as a three-year-old, when handled by Clive Brittain, and there is little doubt about who is the battle hardened and most experienced contender for the big race. That has to be Well Armed. He was last last seen in action in the San Antonio Handicap (G2) at Santa Anita in February. Racing over the same 9-furlong trip as in the Goodwood, the son of Tiznow performed really well under a tough weight, to be runner-up a length behind Magnum. This was his second outing of the year, following a positive seasonal debut in the San Pasqual Handicap (G2) four weeks earlier, when Well Armed checked in fourth behind the subsequent Strub Stakes (G2) winner Cowboy Cal. Conceding 4lb, Well Armed was beaten just two lengths that day. Godolphin Mile (G2) contender Informed finished second in the San Pasqual, and he was fourth in the San Antonio.

Last year, Well Armed also used the San Antonio as his World Cup prep, and beat the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) winner Heatseeker to land the valuable prize. Seven weeks later he ran third in the Dubai World Cup, 8 lengths behind the outstanding Curlin but only a neck behind Asiatic Boy, who will be in opposition again this year. There is very little between these horses. Well Armed, Asiatic Boy and Albertus Maximus are closely matched on Globeform ratings. Albertus Maximus may be the most likely improver, though both Well Armed and Asiatic Boy combine proven stamina with track experience, and neither will be easy to beat.

Well Armed, a winner of 6 races from 22 starts and more than $1.5 million in earnings, is a thoroughly game and consistent performer. His only real disappointment last year came when he could manage only ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, some nine lengths behind Albertus Maximus. Whereas the winner enjooyed a perfect trip, Well Armed ran into all sorts of trouble, when racing over too short a distance. Expect him to be closer to Albertus Maximus in the Dubai World Cup. Much closer.

Published: 2009-03-15 08:50:19

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