Al Rashidiya: Greys Inn returns
by Handicappers (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Globeform (http://www.globeform.com)
Last update: 2007-02-19 09:32:46 (First published: 2006-02-01 07:49:08 )
Nad Al Sheba 2 Feb: Mike de Kock had two winners last week and his team is now hitting form. The top trainer is also bringing out one of his stars, the 6-year-old Greys Inn.
He runs in the Al Rashidiya (G3). The distance is 1777 metres, a bit too sharp for Greys Inn’s liking. Though that is not the only worry. This is an open, highly competitive race, with over half the field in with a chance. The Aga Khan’s Alayan is a leading contender and Linngari - sold by the Aga Khan last year – is also good enough to have a say. Shakis, runner-up last year, is another to consider. He ran with great promise on his seasonal debut here two weeks ago and he has fitness advantage.
AL RASHIDIYA (G3)
Nad Al Sheba 2 February 2006 – 1777 metres Turf
117 – GREYS INN (Zabeel) K Shea
114 – ALAYAN (Sri Pekan) M Kinane
114 – LINNGARI (Indian Ridge) R Moore
113 – SHAKIS (Machiavellian) R Hills
113 – KEY OF DESTINY (Qui Danzig) J Murtagh
111 – NEAR DOCK (Docksider) A Suborics
110 – ETESAAL (Danzig) K McEvoy
110 – TRADEMARK (Goldmark) T Durcan
108 – LATINO MAGIC (Lion Cavern) L Dettori
105 – BOULE D’OR (Croco Rouge) N Day
Greys Inn was impressive when beating Tycoon with ease at the Carnival last year, when he performed to Globeform 117. He was not able to follow up in the Sheema Classic (G1) but Greys Inn was back to his best with a fine second to Vengeance of Rain in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Sha Tin in April. That was over 1 ¼ miles, telling us that Greys Inn does not need 1 ½ miles to show his best – but the Al Rashiyida is run over 1777 metres (just short of 9 furlongs) – and it may prove a bit sharp. Last year, he was finishing well for fourth to stable companion Yard-Arm in the one-mile Al Fahidi Fort (G3) on his UAE debut.
He is the best horse in the field but the distance makes this quite an open contest.
Alayan and Linngari were both carrying the famous Aga Khan silks last year, and they both proved very smart. Linngari, now racing for new connections, was at his best when beating With Reason by 1 ¼ lengths in a Listed event over a mile at Haydock in September. He is a lightly raced 5-year-old, he will stay this trip, and he might improve.
Though Alayan does make more appeal. This 4-year-old son of Sri Pekan ran consistently well in Ireland last year. He was a very good second to Fracas in the Derby Trial Stakes (G2) over 10 furlongs at Lopardstown in May. He was beaten just a nose. The winner was coming off a G3 win in England and went on to take fourth behind Motivator, Walk in The Park and Dubawi in the Vodafone Derby (G1). Pretty solid form. Alayan was not tried at the highest level – but that will almost certainly be the plan in 2006. Prior to the Derby Trial, he won the 2000 Guineas Trial (G3) over a mile (seasonal debut), and he ran just twice in the second half of the season; to win a Listed race and finish fourth to Touch of Land in the Prix Dollar (G2). Reasons to lie him: His tactical speed, his ability to run well fresh, and the fact that he is a very likely improver. But will John Oxx have him primed for this race? Maybe not. The big day is in late March.
Shakis is therefore one we can take a chance on. He comes here in fine shape and this may be his best chance of winning a Group race at the Carnival. He made a positive start to the new season two weeks ago, as he was third behind Iqte Saab in a good handicap run over this course and distance. He had Key of Destiny well behind in 12th place. Shakis performed to GF 111+ that day, proving that he is every bit as good as he was last year. He finished second in this race 12 months ago, beaten only a nose by Wolf Whistle (with Latino Magic fourth). A reproduction of that form could be enough to win this time.
To illustrate what a difference it can be from these trials to the Dubai Duty Free (G1) on World Cup night; Wolf Whistle, Shakis and Key of Destiny finished 11th, 12th and 13th in the 2005 Duty Free. The trials become very important to connections of a horse like Shakis, who has the benefit of a prep run and can be expected to run a big race.
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 year – but his seasonal debut two weeks ago was way below that level of form. Mike de Kock’s team is improving now, however, and Key of Destiny will run a better race here.
Near Dock was disappointing on his UAE debut – but the way he ran suggested that he was not happy on dirt. He is back on turf now, and is one to keep an eye on. Near Dock ran second behind Martillo in a G2 and behind Tiganello in a G3 (both over a mile) in Germany last year. He also performed with credit in the Premio Vittorio di Capua (G1) in October, when fifth to the smart filly Anna Monda.
Etesaal was much better in England last season, than he had been at the 2005 Carnival. He improved to beat Big Bad Bob at Epsom in August, and conformed the form by beating Enforcer by 1 ¼ lengths in the Foundation Stakes (LR) over 10 furlongs at Goodwood in September. He had also won a smaller race at Newmarket in the spring. The ex-Godolphin runner will get some attention here but there are two worries: Firstly, he needs to step up a bit again (which is possible), and secondly his best form in England came on tracks that are all very different to Nad Al Sheba.
A: 1 ALAYAN, 9 SHAKIS
B: 4 GREYS INN
EW / Win & Show: 9 Shakis
1 – 4 – 9 combinations / boxed
A: 1 – 4 – 9 combinations / boxed
A: 1, 4, 9 with 1, 4, 9 with 3, 5, 7, 8, 10
B: 1, 4, 9 with 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 with 1, 4, 9
Race 2 HANDICAP, 90-105 1800 metres dirt
Evil Knievel is interesting, running off just HC 105. His biggest win in Brazil is hard to assess, but it was probably a bit better than 105, as he landed the Grande Premio Francisco Eduardo de Paula Machado (G1) over 2000 metres as La Gavea. He was a surprise winner - beating Jockey’s Dream easily by 2 ¾ lengths, with Ebert finishing third. The turf course was firm, Evil Knievel led all the way and completed the distance in 1:59.02.
He had been second over 1000 metres earlier on and is clearly not short of pace. A step up in distance proved beyond him though, when he had to settle for fifth in the 2400-metres Grande Premio Brasil (G1) at the same venue in August. The race was won by Velodrome, who beat Pestanita.
His UAE debut is much easier and Evil Knievel cannot be opposed. The only question is how he takes to the dirt, but his style of running will help him – and the distance is probably perfect. He is a half-brother to another Brazilian Grade One winner, Zambumba.
Dubai Honor was a good second behind Win River Win here two weeks ago, when Parasol was a below form fourth. Doug Watson trains both these, and they are both in with a chance of some prozemoney. Dubai Honor had a hard race first time out but is still a clear pick of the two.
A: 1 EVIL KNIEVEL
B: 3 DUBAI HONOR
WIN: 1 Evil Knievel
3 win doubles & 1 win treble:
R2: Evil Knievel
R8: Setembro Chove
Race 3 HANDICAP, 90-105 1600 metres dirt
Little Jim gets the vote in what is not a very inspiring race. He is no longer the horse we saw when he won the 2004 UAE 2000 Guineas, but he should be good enough to carry top weight to victory against these. He finished fifth in last year’s Godolphin Mile (G2) – run over this course and distance.
Curule does not win very often but his third on seasonal debut two weeks ago, points at him at the most likely exacta filler.
A: 1 LITTLE JIM
B: 2 CURULE
WIN: 1 Little Jim
EXACTA: 1 to beat 2
Race 4 HANDICAP, 90-105 1600 metres Turf
Cashier is well handicapped, making his 4yo debut racing off just 95. There were signs of him being more of a 100-horse in England last year, when he showed great determination to beat Balavista in a good handicap over a mile a Ayr. He had previously lost by just a nose to Rohaani over 9 furlongs at Sandown Park. Cashier comes from an excellent family, filled with black type performers, and it is also a family that tends to improve with age. His half-brother Azarole also runs here and he may get more attention in the media, after running a second behind King Jock two weeks ago. That was over 7.5 furlongs, however, and this step up to a mile is unlikely to be in Azalore’s favour.
A mile will be perfect for Cashier though, and he is the one horse we must back on the day. He is a handy sort, who should act well on the track, he likes good to firm ground and he is a likely improver.
Lundy’s Lane was in a hot handicap two weeks ago, and ran with credit to take fifth behind Iqte Saab. He did not quite run up to his best though, as he is capable of GF 105 (ran to GF 98+). He had been sixth, but beaten only 2 lengths at level weights, behind Trademark in the National 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. This big field should create a strong pace, which will suit him.
Dubai Destiny is a tricky old man, who does not always look too interested – but he is also just the type that could fire his best shot off a layoff. His win at the 2005 Carnival represents form good enough to win this.
A: 12 CASHIER
B: 1 AZAROLE, 4 LUNDY’S LANE, 5 DESERT DESTINY
WIN: 12 Cashier
A: 12 with 1, 4, 5
B: 1, 4, 5 with 12
Race 5 HANDICAP, 90-105 2400 metres dirt
It is difficult for locally trained horses coming off good runs late last year, to make an impact early in the Carnival. Simply because they go into the races with high handicap marks, competing against Europeans that have been dropped in the weights after dull autumn runs (but come here fresh and are capable of far better). This is most definitely one factor to keep a close eye on at Nad Al Sheba but Muhareb might be an exception. He has a good opportunity here, meeting a group of horses with various question marks attached.
He won by 3 ¼ lengths over 2000 metres here in December, when he was prominent throughout and beat Chinkara readily. Muhareb has also run well over 2400 metres.
Zabeel Dancer, a lightly raced horse transferred from David Loder in England to Ismali Mohammed last autumn, could be a better card still. The son of Grand Lodge ran just twice in 2005, winning both times. He carried top weight to victory in a useful little handicap over 1 ¼ miles at Ponefract last July.
So, one has recent form but a high handicap, the other has to overcome a long layoff but may have a lenient handicap mark. Which one to back? Hard to say, and this race is difficult to like. Keep stakes to a minimum.
Change The Grange was capable of GF 102 last year – when he won twice over this course and distance. He was well below that level first time out but looked in need of the race and must be considered here.
A: 6 MUHAREB, 9 ZABEEL DANCER
B: 2 CHANGE THE GRAIN
2 EXACTAS: 6 and 9 combined / boxed
Race 7 HANDICAP, 90-105 1500 metres Turf
Kandidate won for us at 9-1 two weeks ago and it is always tempting (often dangerous) to side with such a good earner once more. In this case form backs it up though, and he is an “A-horse” again. Kandidate ran to GF 114+ on his UAE debut. He was really well handicapped that day, something that will not happen again – but this race is perhaps his last in a handicap at this Carnival. As we know, he belongs in Group races.
Clive Brittain’s charge was third in the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket last May, beaten only by Footstepsinthesand and Rebel Reb. He was ¾ length in front of Oratorio, who went on to two Group One wins in the summer, Dubawi was fourth (also two G1 wins later on) and Democratic Deficit fifth.
The latter ran a decent race over an unsuitable distance on his Nad Al Sheba debut, and does have a chance here – as does the in-form King Jock, who won really well from Azarole (who runs in race 5) two week ago. But there is a highly interesting longshot at bottom end of the handicap.
So Will I is the one we must not overlook. He ran a race full of promise behind Compton’s Eleven and Slip Dance over 1300 metres in January. The two that beat him were both well handicapped (and our exacta bet), and So Will I suffered some interference. In all probability, he should have finished closer. That is interesting, especially as the performance was his lifetime best. He could well appreciate this step up in distance and he comes out best on Globeform ratings, as he ran to GF 105 last time. The worry is that he is running back after just seven days – that is seldom easy at this meeting.
Starpix was given a strange seasonal debut in the big sprint (on dirt) a week ago. He ran way below his best of course – how will the experience have affected him? We will find out here but, though the ex-French runner is good enough to win, we toss him out this time. He improved when stepped up to a mile last year, to finish a good second behind Turtle Bowl in the Prix Jean Prat (G1) at Chantilly. He came from off the pace, and 9 furlongs may be more to his liking around Nad Al Sheba.
A: 2 KANDIDATE
B: 5 DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT, 6 KING JOCK, 10 SO WILL I
EW / Win & Show: 10 So Will I
A: 2 with 5, 6, 10
B: 5, 6, 10 with 2
Race 8 HANDICAP, 90-105 1600 metres Turf
Are the Brazilians being underestimated by the local handicapper? Setembro Chove does look leniently treated in this handicap, as he is running off 105. The son of Fast Gold won the Grande Premio Presidente da Republica (Brz-G1) over a mile last August, and was also a G3 winner over the same distance in November. Normally, such form is worth 110 at least and he must have a good chance here. Michael Kinane, who partnered the deeply impressive Brazilian sprinter Heart Alone last week, takes the ride.
Pentecost looks the main danger, following his fine third behind King Jock and Azarole (who both run earlier today) on his seasonal debut. Now a 7-year-old, Pentecost would have needed that outing – and he can be expected to move forward quite a bit this time. He performed to GF 96+ behind King Jock, and he was capable of GF 106 in England last year. He runs off 101 in this race.
John Gosden runs two horses and the lightly raced 4-year-old Wazir is perhaps the best chance. He began last season well when second to Coup d’Etat (who was 2nd in a decent Newmarket handicap next out) over 7 furlongs at Sandown in June. Wazir had just two runs after that, without making the frame. He should be capable of improvement this season. His off the pace style suggests that a mile will be no problem.
A: 1 SETEMBRO CHOVE
B: 5 PENTECOST
C: 13 WAZIR
WIN: 1 Setembro Chove
A: 1 with 5
B: 5 with 1
B: 1 with 13
C: 13 with 1
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