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Al Quoz Sprint: US raiders in focus
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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North American sprinters have won 9 of the last 11 runnings in the Golden Shaheen (G1), and this year the US team also includes a strong group set for the Al Quoz Sprint (G2) on the turf.

MR. GRUFF is a US contender with plenty of early speed. He often leads straight away, and normally finishes in the first three. That said, quite how effective he will be over 1000 metres at Meydan remains to be seen, as he has raced over further in the US. Mr. Gruff even showed enough stamina to take third in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Hollywood Park last year, when he was beaten just a length by the winner Victor's Cry after leading into the straight. He had previously beaten Duty Free contender Victor's Cry by 2 lengths to win the San Simeon Handicap (G3) over 6.5 furlongs (1300 metres) at Santa Anita. Mr. Gruff won the San Simeon also in 2009. Mr. Gruff has had his career interrupted by hind end problems over the years. He has been sparely raced, just nine starts is not much for a seven-year-old, but Mr. Gruff has produced a nice strike rate, with five wins to date. The Al Quoz Sprint will be his first race for nine months, but he often runs well after a break and it may not be a cause for concern.

Globeform: 115

STRADIVINSKY, shipping over from Florida, set himself up for the Al Quoz Sprint (G2) by winning the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) in January. Staged over the same distance as the Al Quoz, the race attracted just five runners but it was still quite competitive. Stradivinsky carried top top weight and won by 1 lengths from Great Attack and ran the 5 furlongs in 56,7 seconds. He possesses good speed but stays further too, as well demonstrated when he took the 6-furlong Jaipur Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park last July. That was his fourth consecutive success and he ran another solid race to finish third behind fellow Al Quoz contender Chamberlain Bridge at Philadelphia Park in September. While Chamberlain Bridge built on that to take the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G2), Stradivinsky failed to fire at the Breeders' Cup, and beat only one of the 13 rivals in the big event. He had probably lost his form at that stage. His win at Gulfstream Park in January indicates that he has regained it now.

Globeform: 113

Last update: 2011-03-16 05:33:01 (First published: 2011-03-11 10:15:56 )

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