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Twice Over, back-to-back winner of the Champion Stakes (G1) at Newmarket in England, was beaten just over three lengths in last year's Dubai World Cup (G1).
Getting so close to the best horse is normally worth something but not in 2010, as eight others sqeezed in between the winner, Gloria de Campeao, and Twice Over. It was a muddling race, and the moderate early pace certainly worked against Twice Over on the day. He is a lot better than his tenth placing suggests – and proved the point with a solid win in the Al Maktoum Challenge III (G2) on Super Thursday.
The Henry Cecil trainee went for the World Cup without a prep run last year, and connections felt that he needed more experience with the surface at Meydan ahead of the 2011 edition. Twice Over thus ran in the Al Maktoum Challenge, over the full Dubai World Cup distance, and he was quite an impressive winner of this event, outstaying Musir and Gitano Hernando, who were noses apart at the wire but 2 ¾ lengths behind the winner. He broke well from an outside post, was soon just a few lengths off the leaders, and went ahead early in the straight. This was his 10th win from 23 runs and an absolutely perfect start to the new season for Twice Over and rider Tom Queally. English bookmakers immediately promoted him to favouritism for the World Cup. Khalid Abdullah's contender is one of the best over 1 ¼ miles on turf in Europe, and now seems just as effective on Meydan's Tapeta track.
Given a near three-month break after the 2010 World Cup, Twice Over bounced right back to better form at Royal Ascot last June, when he ran a good second to Byword in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes (G1). Byword won by half a length but Twice Over was trapped a crucial stage of the finish and was perhaps an unlucky loser. He subsequently won the Eclipse Stakes (G1) at Sandown Park (beating Sri Putra by half a length) and Champion Stakes (G1) at Newmarket – an event he had landed also in 2009. Twice Over beat Mawatheeq by half a length on that occasion and his second Champion Stakes success came at the expense of the classy French raider Vision d'Etat, who was beaten almost two lengths by a strong and determined Twice Over. Sent into the lead two furlongs from home, he ran on really well and was never in any danger. Interestingly, this time Twice Over overcame a slow pace, by being given a more aggressive ride.
In between these high profile wins, the son of Observatory ran two solid races in defeat; his close second to Rip Van Winkle in the Juddmonte International (G1) at York reading better than his third in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1) at Leopardstown, where he passed the post 5 ½ lengths behind the winner (Rip Van Winkle just a short head better in second).
As a three-year-old, Twice Over showed enough speed to beat that year's Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner Raven's Pass over a mile, and he has never been tried over further than the World Cup distance. His sire Observatory was a top class miler and Twice Over's dam, Double Crossed (Caerleon), won over 10 and 11 furlongs. Twice Over combines speed and stamina and he is a game and consistent racehorse who looks set for a big run in the Dubai World Cup (G1).
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Last update: 2011-03-04 05:34:14 (First published: 2011-02-16 07:38:41 )
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