Maktoum Challenge I & opening day previews
by Handicappers (email@example.com) / Globeform (http://www.globeform.com)
Last update: 2007-02-19 09:32:17 (First published: 2006-01-18 14:21:02 )
Nad Al Sheba 19 Jan: Opening day at Nad Al Sheba’s excellent International Racing Carnival has drawn an interesting card.
The one-mile Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Challenge, Round 1 (G3) gets ten runners and the likely favourite is Lundy’s Liabilty. Now back with Mike de Kock, who is looking for his third successive win in this race, Lundy’s Liability is capable of Globeform 119 and thus takes the best form into the battle. But he is also trying to overcome a lengthy layoff and a drop in distance. His toughest opponents may be the ex-English Brunel and the ex-German Near Dock.
Race 2 SHADWELL FARM CUP (Handicap) 1500 metres Turf
Millennium Force has been dropped in the handicap since showing fine form here at Nad Al Sheba last winter and he is really well in at the weights. He won over this course and distance last January (seasonal debut) and performed to Globeform 106 that day. Mick Channon’s charge also produced GF 105 over 6.5 furlongs a month later. He won off HC 102 here a year ago and is now racing off HC 95.
Azarole is high in the handicap but his lifetime best is a notch better and he must have a reasonable chance on his UAE debut. He has shown his best form over 7 furlongs in England and this turning 7.5-furlong trip should suit. He ran close to what will be required here when second over a mile at Lingfield Park in December, when beaten a neck by Psychiatrist.
Harb is interesting, after he decent run in a one-mile Listed event at Abu Dhabi in November. Harb was prominent early, but hampered and finished seventh to Trademark. King Jock and Summoner were second and third, but they are now 10 and 8 pounds worse off respectively – and Harb has a good chance of turning the tables.
A: 9 MILLENNIUM FORCE
B: 1 AZAROLE, 10 HARB
WIN: 9 Millennium Force
EXACTAS: 1 – 9 – 10 combined / boxed
Race 3 SHADWELL FARM TROPHY 1400 metres dirt
This is a race to treat with care for betting fans. A big field of young horses, from all kinds of corners of the racing world, meet over 7 furlongs on the dirt track. Early pace, combined with racing luck, will be vital factors. Though, as the quality of these horses may be ‘wide’ from top to bottom, we cane expect to see the field well strung out.
Emirates Gold, representing Godolphin, may be among the favourites. After winning a Newmarket maiden on his debut last summer, he was unplaced in the Coventry Stakes (G2), before returning to Newmarket and run a good second in a good Nursery Hcap (with top weight). Emirates Gold was next sent to Salisbury, where he ran second in a Listed race over a mile. The winner, Doctor Dash, let the form down by being well beaten twice in subsequent Group races, but is a much lower grade and Pat Smullen’s mount should go close.
The boys in blue also run the ex-American colt Testimony. The son of Yes It’s True was a wide margin winner of a maiden at Belmont Park in October, when he raced over a sloppy track. He stumbled at the start but recovered well to beat Tuscan Prince by 7 ½ lengths, running a mile in 1:37.47. First Samurai win the Champagne (G1) in 1:36.29 on the same day and Testimony’s runner-up, Tuscan Prince, had been 16 ¼ lengths behind the classy colt Bluegrass Cat on his previous start. Testimony was stepped up in class after this, but had no chance in the Iroquois Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, where he was unplaced behind Catcominatcha.
National Captain ran respectably in Graded stakes in South Africa as a juvenile but he failed by a nose when lowered to maiden company at Greyville in July. He was also taking a step up in distance, to 1900 metres after finishing second in a G23 and sixth in a G1 – both over 6 furlongs.
Wovoka, a filly from England who closed her first season with a Listed win in Ireland, is well worth a look. Taking solid form into the race, she could prove up to winning in this company – though the distance is against her. She was at her best coming from off the pace last year, and she won the 9-furlong Eyresfield Stakes in November – beating Danehill Music and Royal Intrigue. Danehill Music was coming off a nursery win and Royal Intrigue was coming off a third in another Listed event. The race was run of soft to heavy ground but, while cutting back in trip is not so good, we should remember that horses who handle heavy turf often do well also on dirt. Perhaps Wovoka is a the value bet here?
A: 5 EMIRATES GOLD
B: 3 NATIONAL CAPTAIN, 13 TESTIMONY, 16 WOVOKA
Race 4 SHADWELL FARM HANDICAP 1500 metres Turf
Kandidate ran to GF 100+ when fourth to Stagelight in the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) here at Nad Al Sheba last winter – when he was committed quite early in the mile event, and he improved to Globeform 113 when third in the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket last May. He was naturally quite highly tried after that Classic, but failed to reproduce the form. Though that will hardly be needed, for him to win this event, and he is impossible to oppose. Don’t forget, this colt is racing off 105 here. That is not high, for a runner who was a game third in the English Guineas, 2 lengths behind Footstepsinthesand and ¾ length in front of Oratorio, who went on to two Group One wins in the summer.
Sabirli may be nicely handicapped on his best form in Turkey, where we find an interesting formline with the mare Ribelle, who did so well here at last year’s Carnival, and the bottom weigh Tajseed is another longshot worth looking at. He ran respectable races in similar events here last year and could also be well handicapped.
A: 1 KANDIDATE
B: 2 SABIRLI
C: 12 TAJSEED
WIN: 1 Kandidate
A: 1 to beat 2
B: 1 to beat 12
C: 2 to beat 1
Race 5 SHADWELL FARM STAKES (HCAP) 1500 metres Turf
Gypsy Johnny impressed when second to Stagelight in the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) last year, where Kandidate was fourth. Things did, for whatever reason, not quite work out for Gypsy Johnny after that, and he ended the 2005 Carnival as a ‘forgotten horse’. Do not write him off quite yet. He performed to GF 99+ in the Guineas and he could well be an improved horse now.
The race is tricky and not appealing for betting, but Gypsy Johnny at around 25-1 is tempting. He is a lightly raced horse, proven on the track and likely to appreciate the distance.
Billy Allen ran dull races in the US at the end of last season and is hard to fancy, while Elmustanser might be just that little bit too high in the handicap to succeed. He ran solid races here last year, when second to Chiquitin in a Group 3 over 2000 metres and winning a handicap over 2400 metres. Roehampton was third, beaten 4 ¾ lengths in the handicap, but he is now 11 pounds better off with Elmustanser and should be able to gain revenge. Also, this is a better distance for Roehampton, who won over 1800 metres at last year’s Carnival. That race leads us to the old warrior Curule, who was second 1 ¼ lengths behind Roehampton. Curule is now 13 pounds better off with Roehampton, so – despite his age – one can make a strong case for Curule.
A: 11 GYPSY JOHNNY
B: 2 ELMUSTANSER, 7 ROEHAMPTON, 10 CURULE
EW / Win & Show: 11 Gypsy Johnny
EXACTAS: 11 with 2, 7, 10 and 2, 7, 10 with 11
Race 6 SHADWELL FARM PLATE (HCAP) 1777 metres Turf
Lundy’s Lane was sixth, but beaten only 2 lengths at level weights, behind Trademark in the Natioanl Day Cup (LR) over a mile at Abu Dhabi in the autumn. The son of Darshaan won over 9 and 10 furlongs in England as a 3-year-old, and he was staying on well at the finish at Abu Dhabi. The added distance here will be in his favour, and so will the weights. He is receiving 11 pounds from Trademark, a shift that equals just over five lengths. Lundy’s Lane produced GF 105 when second to Majors Cast over this course and distance last year, and he is well worth a bet today. 10-1 is the morning line in England.
Trademark must also bee respected but this is a tight handicap where several hold a winning chance. Key of Destiny ran the race of his life when third behind Alkadheem and Right Appraoch in the Jebel Hatta (G2) over this course and distance last March. Wolf Whistle also loves the trip, having won a good handicap and the Al Rashidiya (G3) over the distance. In the latter, he beat Shakis by a nose – and Shakis is now a pound better off at the weigths. Democratic Deficit may be seen to better effect over shorter trips later at the Carnival. He won the Craven Stakes (G3) – from Rob Roy and Kandidate – before finishing sixth in the 2000 Guineas (G1) and third in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) last spring. Dermot Weld’s charge later won a Group 3 over 7 furlongs.
Iqte Saab, who is a possible improver this year, and Terfel, are longhots in with a chance, in what appears to be a very complicated race.
A: 10 LUNDY’S LANE
B: 1 KEY OF DESTINY, 2 WOLF WHISTLE, TRADEMARK
C: 3 SHAKIS, 5 DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT
WIN: 10 Lundy’s Lane
SHADWELL FARM SHEIKH MAKTOUM
BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE R1 (G3)
Nad Al Sheba 19 January 2006 – 1600 metres / 1 mile dirt
119 – LUNDY’S LIABILITY (Candy Stripes) K Shea
116 – BLATANT (Machiavellian) R Hills
114 – BRUNEL (Marju) K McEvoy
111 – NEAR DOCK (Docksider) M Kinane
110 – CHERRY PICKINGS (Miner’s Mark) T Durcan
107 – BALDAQUIN (Baratthea) P Dillon
106 – PARTY BOSS (Silver Patriarch) E Ahern
105 – PETIT PARIS (Husonnet) J Egan
102 – KILL CAT (Catrail) J Spencer
100 – BLUE ON BLUES (Lode) R Moore
Lundy’s Liability has not run since performing well below his best in last year’s Dubai World Cup (G1) and he has now rejoined the de Kock stable. He won the UAE Derby (G2) for them here in 2004, and his subsequent form in USA – where he was trained by Bobby Frankel – was even better. At his best, Lundy’s Liability is capable of Globeform 119. He ran to that mark when he beat the in-form Truly a Judge by 1 ½ lengths in the 9-furlong San Antonio Handicap (G2) at Santa Anita last winter. He is clearly the best horse in this field but the long layoff and the distance (bit sharp for him) is a worry if you decide to back this favourite.
Blatant’s surprise third behind Starcraft and Dubawi in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) at Newmarket last October is form ‘too good to be true’ and he failed to run up to it next time out. He will get his supporters, but the ex-English Brunel and the ex-German Near Dock both make more appeal. Brunel performed up to his best at the end of last summer, when he was third to Martillo in the Darley Oettingen-Rennen (G2) over a mile at Baden-Baden, before winning the Topkapi Trophy over the same distance in Turkey.
Near Dock was 2 lengths better than Brunel in the Oettingen, however, and this runner is really interesting. Morning line 10-1 is way too big. Near Dock had been second to Tiganello in a G3 over a mile in May and also ran with credit in the Premio Vittorio di Capua (G1) in October, when fifth to Anna Monda (Martillo was 2nd). Near Dock is a likely improver this year, and he gets Mick Kinane on board for his UAE debut.
A: 7 LUNDY’S LIABILITY
B: 8 NEAR DOCK
C: 4 BRUNEL
EW / Win & Show: 8 Near Dock
A: 7 with 4, 8
B: 4, 8 with 7
C: 4, 8 with 4, 8
Race 8 SHADWELL FARM (HCAP) 1500 metres Turf
Queleden Candela is just the type to improve with age and she has been given a real chance by the handicapper here. Quite speedy, she does not sya a mile, but 1500 metres should be within her reach. She ran good races here last year. After making her UAE debut with a third to Littletown Bridge, she managed second in the UAE 1000 Guineas – 4 ½ lengths behind Satin Kiss. Queleden Candela was a top class filly in Argentina in 2004 – and stretched her winning run to three when she beat colts in the Esterellas Juvenile Sprint (G1) over 1000 metres at Palermo. Racing over a muddy track, she ran the distance in 55.2 seconds, to beat the pace setter Vital Class by a length, with Interlisa 3 lengths further back in third place. It was one of the best juvenile performances seen in Argentine that year.
She was third twice at Janadiriya in December, over 1600 and 1800 metres, and this drop in distance should be to her liking. Making her turf debut, she is a fascinating each-way bet.
Satwa Queen, winner of two Group 3 races in France last year, is making her UAE debut – but dosing so over a distance that may be on the sharp side. Her wins came over 1800 and 2000 metres and she closed her sesason by finishing fifth, 2 lengths behind Kinnaird, in a sub-standard Group 1 over 2000 metres at the ‘Arc’ meeting.
Emerald Beauty was one of the better fillies and mares at last year’s meeting and not at all disgraced when racing behind Jack Sullivan and Grand Emporium. She is good enough to go close here but is a typically miler.
A: 9 QUELEDEN CANDELA
B: 1 SATWA QUEEN, 2 EMERALD BEAUTY
EW / Win & Show: 9 Queleden Candela
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