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Sheema Classic: Dangerous Midge in focus
by Handicappers / Globeform
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This runner was probably Europe's biggest improver last season, when he closed out his campaign by landing the Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in November having opened it by winning a handicap at Doncaster in England back in April.


Dangerous Midge was impressive on his seasonal bow, but he was only rated 88 at the time, a far cry from Group One level. He cantered home by 5 lengths at Doncaster, earning 6,500 in the process. Less than a year on, he will be one of the favourites for the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1).

From such a low-key start to his season, Dangerous Midge ended up going for the Breeders' Cup Turf. He had won twice more in England since his seasonal debut, most notably taking the Old Newton Cup Handicap by 8 lengths at Haydock Park in July, but it was still hard to see him as a legitimate championship race contender. Three weeks prior to the Breeders' Cup came an indication that he might just be that as Rainbow Peak, a horse he beat by 4 lengths in September, landed the Gran Premio del Jockey Club (G1) in Italy. While Dangerous Midge was being rested up to his big task at Churchill Downs, the form of his most recent performance was given a nice boost, and only the French trained colt Behkabad was shorter in the betting as the gates opened for the BC Turf. With Derby and 'Arc' winner Workforce absent, Behkabad was a heavy favourite. He did, however, struggle a bit as the pace quickened around the home turn, when the early leader Champs Pegasus had been joined by Dangerous Midge. Behkabad did get going, but never looked a threat. Dangerous Midge outstayed the locally trained Champs Pegasus, and won the race readily by 1 lengths. Behkabad was 2 lengths further adrift, beating Winchester by half a length for third spot.

Last year's was not a particularly strong edition of the Breeders' Cup Turf, but the field was quite solid. Champs Pegasus was coming off a C L Hirsch Turf Championship (G1) at Hollywood Park, Behkabad had won the Grand Prix de Paris (G1) at Longchamp two starts back, and Winchester was a winner of the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park on his most recent start. Debussy, fifth to Dangerous Midge at the Breeders' Cup, had previously caused an upset by beating Gio Ponti in the Arlington Million (G1). To say that this was a weak field would be way off the mark. It was lacking a star, though there must be a chance that we saw a future star in Dangerous Midge. A late developing sort, he can improve again and it will be interesting to follow his progress this season. His trainer, who saddled David Junior to win the Dubai Duty Free (G1) five years ago, initially had thoughts of aiming Dangerous Midge for the Dubai World Cup (G1) but has said that he will stick to the turf. Dangerous Midge will thus be racing on the same surface and over the same distance as in Kentucky last November, and he is one of the top contenders for this year's Sheema Classic (G1).

Bought for $120,000 by Angela Sykes at the Keeneland Yearling Sales, Dangerous Midge is a son of Lion Heart, who won the Haskell Invitational (G1) after having run second to Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Dangerous Midge's dam, Adored Slew, is a US bred daughter of Seattle Slew. She raced in France and North America, winning twice and running second in the Prix Minerve (G3) over 2400 metres.

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Last update: 2011-03-03 05:17:04 (First published: 2011-03-01 05:32:35 )

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