UAE 2000 Guineas: Gold For Sale to stay unbeaten?
by Geir Stabell (firstname.lastname@example.org) / Globeform (http://www.globeform.com)
Last update: 2007-02-19 09:33:17 (First published: 2006-02-09 12:40:54 )
Nad Al Sheba 10 Feb: The DNRD UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) has drawn a full field. The race even has three reserves and will get 14 runners. The first Classic in Dubai brings in horses from all corners of the racing world.
Gold for Sale, an unbeaten import from Argentina, who has already won a 2000 Guineas, may start favourite. Though this is very difficult race to predict. The English trained Well Armed, a son of Tiznow, is also in with a good chance, after beating many of his Guineas rivals here three weeks ago. Canadian racing fans will no doubt be interested in Unification - last year’s winner of the Grey Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3) at Woodbine. German fans will have full focus on Flashing Numbers. This colt was third in a French Group 1 last year.
DNRD UAE 2000 GUINEAS (G3)
Nad Al Sheba 10 February 2006 – 1600 metres / 1 mile dirt
..?+ – GOLD FOR SALE (Not for Sale) J Murtagh
106 – WELL ARMED + (Tiznow) R Moore
103 – UNIFICATION + (Dixie Union) R Hills
103 – KILWORTH (Kalanisi) M KcEvoy
100 – FLASHING NUMBERS + (Polish Numbers) A Starke
..?+ – NOMORETAXES (First American) K Shea
..99 – WOVOKA (Mujadil) J Heffernan
...?+ – AZUL DA GUANABARA (Aracai) E Ahern
..98 – TESTIMONY + (Yes It’s True) L Dettori
..?+ – NATIONAL CAPTAIN (Captain All) R Mullen
..94 – WHERE’S THAT TIGER (Storm Cat) W Marwing
..93 – GOLDEN ACER (Elnadim) W Supple
..88 – FIGJAM (Groom Dancer) P Smullen
..80 – RENDEROC (Mt. Livermore) J Egan
..75 – COVER DRIVE (Giant’s Causeway) T Durcan
…? – GADAHAR (Gilded Time)
…? – LOVELY DUBAI (Desert Prince)
…? – DONIA DUBAI (Docksider)
Gold for Sale is an unbeaten colt from Argentina, where he was an impressive winner of the Argentine 2000 Guineas (G1) – the Gran Premio Polla de Potrillos – in September. Racing over a fast track at Palermo, Gold for Sale quickened well to gain a 4-length win over Mr. Rod, with Scooby third, running the 1600 metres in 1:35.08. It was his fifth win from as many starts.
The son of Not for Sale was coming off a 2-length win in the Clasico Miguel Cane (G2), run over the same course and distance in August. He had also landed a Grade 3 over 1400 metres on heavy ground.
South American 2- and 3yo form is hard to assess – but from what we have seen at the Dubai Carnival so far, the top youngsters in that part of the world are not up to the same class as top youngsters in USA and Europe. Argentina, Brazil and Chile produce world class racehorses but their breeding programs seem to be more geared towards making top older horses. As we have seen with so many exported to USA, they are durable performers. Precocity is hardly a key word in their careers.
That said, there is no doubt that a horse like Gold for Sale is up to G3 class – and he probably holds a serious winning chance here.
Well Armed ran a game race to win over 7 furlongs on opening day. Racing up with the pace throughout, he kicked for home early in the straight and ran out a solid 3 ½-length winner over Godolphin’s ex-American colt Testimony, with the South African Nomoretaxes in third and the English gelding Wovoka fourth. They all meet again in the Guineas, where Well Armed should once more have the upper hand. Stepping up to a mile will suit him – though it will also help Godolphin’s colt Testimony. He was closing well in the home stretch.
Well Armed’s winning time was 1:24.57. His average quarter was thus 24.16 seconds. Blatant’s average quarter, as he outclassed his opponents in the Group 3 race over a mile, was 24.17 seconds.
How good is the form? Well… this is a tough one but a closer examination of the race indicates that Well Armed’s performance was well above average for 3-year-old making his seasonal debut. He ran on really well, without looking ‘flashy’, but the pace had been quite strong and he is probably a better horse than he appeared as he came through the last half-furlong. Testimony, who had come off the bridle and looked an absolute no-hoper halfway through the bend, stayed on passing tiring horses to get up for second. He was 3 ½ lengths behind Well Armed though, and the winner was full of energy passing the wire. Well Armed has already won over 1 ¼ miles (in England last November).
Testimony, trained by Eoin Harty last year, 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 won the Champagne (G1) in 1:36.29 on the same day. 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.
Nomoretaxes finished third behind Well Armed. This is a Brazilian bred Stud TNT colt trained by Mike de Kock, and he went off second favourite with English bookmakers (behind Testimony). Nomoretaxes was second in a Grade 3 in Brazil last year. Wovoka finished fourth, after running just off the pace throughout. 7 furlongs would be his absolute minimum, making his dirt debut a respectable one. He managed a Listed win over 9 furlongs in Ireland last year – 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. Fifth-placed, beaten 7 lengths, was National Captain. He ran respectably in Graded stakes in South Africa as a juvenile but 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 G3 and sixth in a G1 – both over 6 furlongs.
Giving these a sound beating, Well Armed earned a provisional Globeform 106+. Which is improvement on his best form in England. He ran eight times for one win, and outran his odds by some way when fourth at 150-1 in the Autumn Stakes (G3) over a mile at Salisbury in October. After that he ran unplaced in a Group 2, before moving off the turf for the first time in a 1 ¼-mile maiden at Lingfield Park in November. He led all the way and drew off for a comfortable win, beating Bull Market by 1 ¼ lengths. Bull Market won next time out, beating Salute the General, who also went on to win his next race.
The ex-Canadian contender Unification has joined Ismail Mohammed, after having a successful season for Darley Stable last year. He made his debut at Saratoga (5.5-furlong maiden, finished fourth), before winning a Woodbine maiden by 17 lengths, and land the Grey Breeders’ Cup Stakes (G3) over 1 1/16 miles at the same venue. It looked a smart performance but the time was moderate, as he won in 1:46.5, nearly six seconds slower than the track record. Unification beat Badge of Truth by ¾ length. The runner-up, who was conceding 3lb, was coming off a second place finish in the Summer Stakes (G2) on turf.
Kilworth ran his best race when runner-up to Leo in the Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) over a mile (straight / turf) at Newmarket last September. On that form, he has a chance, but this horse had a hard juvenile campaign and he also disappointed in the Racing Post Trophy (G1) in October. His stakes performances will make him popular but he does not make much appeal in this office.
Flashing Numbers is interesting. The German trained son of Polish Numbers finished third in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (G1) over 2000 metres last year. He was staying of from the back (on unsuitably heavy ground) and checked in 3 lengths behind the winner, Linda’s Lad, who was one of the better juveniles in France last year. His trainer Mario Hofer mentioned one target for the colt after this fine stakes debut, and it was the Prix du Jockey-Club (G1) – no less! Well, here he is now, running in the UAE 2000 Guineas. Judged on his run at Saint-Cloud, he is not without a chance.
This is not a race to beat heavily in – as there are simply too many unknown factors, and as the big field can create more that one ‘bad luck stories’. It is a race one must see, of course. A future star might emerge. We have picked four against the lot – and play just a few lines in exactas / trifectas.
A: 2 GOLD FOR SALE, 14 WELL ARMED
B: 8 FLASHING NUMBERS, 12 TESTIMONY
EW / Win & Show: 8 Flashing Numbers
A: 2 and 14 boxed / reversed
B: 2, 14 with 8, 12
A: 2, 14 with 2, 14 with 8, 10, 12
B: 2, 14 with 8, 10, 12 with 2, 14
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