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UAE 1000 Guineas: Vague, Deveron, Rock Opera
by Geir Stabell ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2007-02-19 09:33:32 (First published: 2006-02-14 13:11:12 )

Nad Al Sheba 16 Feb:

The Gulf News UAE 1000 Guineas (LR)
gets 11 runners but this event does have the look of a three-horse affair.

Vague, who made such a promising dirt track debut here last month, steps up in distance and class, as she goes for the one-mile Classic. She is set to clash with Deveron, third in Europe’s most prestigious event for juvenile fillies last year, and Rock Opera, a South African Group One winner coming off a good third in a hot handicap on turf. Godolphin have won the last three editions of this event but the ‘boys in blue’ will be watching from the stands this time – unusually, they have no runner.


Nad Al Sheba 16 February 2006 – 1600 metres / 1 mile dirt

109 – DEVERON + (Cozzene) M McEvoy
100 – VAGUE (Elusive Quality) M Kinane
..?+ – ROCK OPERA (Lecture) T Durcan
..90 – SWAN MAIDEN + (Swain) R Mullen
..?+ – PRINCESS WOODMAN (Roi Normand) M Almeida
..87 – DON’T DILI DALI (Dansili) J Egan
..83 – GIVE ME THE NIGHT (Night Shift) W Supple
..83 – IMPERIAL ICE (Western Winter) K Shea
..76 – LINDUS ATENOR (Fraam) W Smith
..00 – DONIA DUBAI (Docksider) P Dillon
..00 – ZEINA OF ARABIA (Capote)

Two fillies stick out and both raced in England last year; the Jeremy Noseda trained Vague and Deveron, who was with Clive Brittain last term but is now in the care of Ismail Mohammed.

Vague ran to GF 100 in England last year and she returned GF 93+ with an honest win on her dirt debut here in January. Running on gamely, the daughter of Elusive Quality outstayed Swan Maiden to win by 1 ½ lengths in the 7-furlong Mustaqbali Cup. It is unlikely that the runner-up will trouble her this time, as they meet over a mile.

It was a good start to Vague’s 3yo campaign, not least as the trip would have been on the sharp side for Vague. She will appreciate this step up to a mile. She had solid form against some of the better fillies in Europe last year. She broke her maiden in her second race, then finished second to stable companion La Chunga in the 6-furlong Albany Stakes (G3) at York (Royal Ascot meeting). Vague confirmed the form by splitting Confidential Lady and Nasheej in a Listed event at Sandown, where she stepped up to 7 furlongs (the course has emphasis on stamina). Nasheej and Confidential Lady went on to run first and second in a G3 at Newmarket, before Confidential Lady won a good G3 in France and Nasheej won the May Hill Stakes (G2) and took third in the Fillies’ Mile (G1). One can safely say that the form of that Sandown race worked out!

Deveron is better though, as she managed to finish third in the Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) over a mile at Longchamp in October (beating Vague’s Sandown conqueror Confidential Lady by 5 lengths). Deveron had been third behind Nasheej and Confidential Lady in the Sweet Solera Stakes (G3) at Sandown, and she clearly improved when running over a mile in Paris. After racing in mid-field, though never far off the pace, Deveron kept on strongly in the closing stages. She was beaten by Rumplestiltskin (Europe’s best juvenile filly) and Quiet Royal (won the G3 Prix Miesque next time out).

The Cozzene filly is US bred but her pedigree is more about turf than dirt. Her sire was a top class turf runner, who enjoyed his finest moment when winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), and her dad – the Cruisie (Assert) – was a winner on turf and is a half-sister to Duluth, a G1 placed turf runner who won the Knickerbocker Stakes (G3) on the lawn at Aqueduct. Deveron’s half-brother Hunter Cruise won the Continental Mile on turf at Monmouth Park as a juvenile.

Whether Deveron will take to dirt racing is hard to predict but she has shown good stamina and she has won on soft ground – two factors that count in her favour as she runs of dirt for a Classic win.

Rock Opera, a Group 1 winner in South Africa last year, made a promising start to the new season when third behind Clinet and Satwa Queen in a hot handicap over 7.5 furlongs here in January. She ran on well to beat Brindisi by a neck for third place. The form was given a nice boost when Clinet and Brindisi ran first and second in a Listed event last week, and Satwa Queen’s previous form also shows what a tough race it was. She was a dual G3 winner in France last year. Rock Opera performed to GF 95+ behind Clinet and she is almost certainly capable of GF 100+. She won the Fillies’ Championship over 6 furlongs at Scottsville last May, beating Secret of Victoria readily by 2 lengths, with Careful Landing third. Rock Opera had been a 5-length winner of a G2 over the same distance at Turffontein in April – her first run at Nad Al Sheba suggests that a mile on turf will not be a problem. But this is dirt and her stamina might be stretched.

Princess Woodman, a Brazilian bred daughter of Roi Normand, has useful form in the book but may be a pure sprinter. She ran a poorly behind Vague over 7 furlongs last time but gained a Listed win over 6 furlongs at Gavea in Brazil in 2005.




4 Deveron


A: 4 with 10
B: 4 with 2
C: 10 with 4
D: 2 with 4


A: 4 with 2, 10 with 2, 10
B: 2, 10 with 4 with 2, 10
C: 2, 10 with 2, 10 with 4


Race 2
Entertainment Plus Trophy Hcap
Sponsored by The Gulf News 1200 m / 6 fur Turf

Queleden Candela is worth taking another chance on here. At long last, she is being dropped down to sprinting and, after below par efforts over 8 and 9 furlongs, she has also been dropped by the handicapper. Racing off just 93, she must have a chance. She is coming out of a particularly hot handicap (won by Clinet) over 1500 metres – where she pulled but led for over 6 furlongs but tired and finished last. Beaten just over 9 lengths, she was eased inside the last furlong. It was her turf debut.

Backing a horse that beat nothing on its most recent start is something we seldom do – but in this case it is tempting to make an exception. Queleden Candela should be a big price and she has a very nice weight. 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. She performed to GF 102+ that day. Willie Supple rode her in the Classic and he is back on board now.

The daughter of West by West was a top class filly in Argentina in 2004. Stretched her winning run to three, 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.

Howick Falls has not run since landing the Flying Childers Stakes (G2) over 5 furlongs at Doncaster in 2003, when he was a smart sprinting juvenile trained by David Loder in England. It is hard to back a horse after such a long absence but Howick Falls has been given a sympathetic weight by the handicapper an he cannot be written off.

Royal Strom made a good UAE debut behind Kodiac two weeks ago and this English challenger looks interesting here. He ran well in Group races over 7 furlongs in Europe last year but his early speed indicates that he will be effective also over six.

Protector was third behind Bahiano over 6.5 furlongs last week and will probably be short in the betting. Especially since he finished well after being hampered before the halfway stage. He did get a hard race though, and this drop in distance is another minus. Also, it has proved difficult to run two good races on the bounce within a week at this track.




EW / Win & Show:
12 Queleden Candela


A: 12 with 3, 6
B: 3, 6 with 12

Race 3 Inside Out Stakes Hcap (Gulf News) 2000 m / 10 fur dirt

Etesaal can win with top weight, facing a group of horses that are tough battlers, but nowhere near as classy as the Ismail Mohammed trainee. The switch from turf to dirt is the only worry. He was taking on some seriously good horses on his seasonal debut when running in the Al Rashiyida (G3) over 9 furlongs – but was not at all disgraced in sixth place, 3 lengths behind Linngari. The distance may have been a bit sharp for Etesaal, who should not be opposed as he takes on handicappers over 10 furlongs.

He was much better in England last season than he had been at the 2005 Carnival. Etesaal improved to beat Big Bad Bob over 10 furlongs at Epsom in August, and confirmed 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. His best form in England came on tracks that are all very different to Nad Al Sheba but his run behind Linngari proved that he is fine at this oval.

Clasp had a hard race as he gamely held on to beat Parasol by a length over this course and distance last Friday. Parasol – quite an enigmatic guy – was conceding 4kg (9lbs) and he is now conceding 2,5kg. He is a typical place horse and easy to select as second choice behind Etesaal.




1 Etesaal

EXACTA: 1 to beat 3


A: 1 with 3 with All six
B: 1 with All six with 3

Race 4 Tabloid Cup Hcap (Gulf News) 1200 m / 6 fur Turf

Horses that finish unplaced are often dropped quite quickly in the handicap at the Carnival, even some who are making their seasonal debut. Montgomery’s Arch is a good example, and he is a tempting bet here. He made a satisfactory start to the new season when finishing seventh, 5 ¼ lengths behind Compton’s Eleven, three weeks ago. Jeremy Noseda’s horse was racing off HC 105 that day, and he has now been lowered to HC 102. He ran to GF 93+ behind Compton’s Eleven and there is a good chance that he will move forward off that run.

He was one of the best juveniles in Europe in 2004, when he ran third to Shamardal in the Dewhurst Stakes (G1) – producing GF 111. His 3yo season was not so good, but his first run of the 2005 season was a decent effort. He ran seventh, beaten only 2 lengths, behind Democratic Deficit in the Craven Stakes (G3) at Newmarket (it was noted that he had mucus in lungs). Montgomery’s Arch changed trainer last autumn, from Peter Chapple-Hyam to Noseda (excellent meet here in 2005). Given a change of scenery and a sunny start to his 4yo campaign, this is a horse to keep an eye on. 10-1 looks way too big.

Safe Structure and Bahiano are both coming off solid wins but Bygone Days may be in with a better chance. The ex-English runner finished well when third behind Obe Gold and Kodiac (winner since) on his UAE debut. He was 1 ¼ lengths behind Obe Gold, who enjoyed the run of the race (Bygone Days was forced to go wide).

Bygone Days was at his best when gaining an easy 2 ½-length win over Desperate Dan in a 6-furlong handicap at Haydock Park in September. He has early speed and he is an interesting UAE recruit.

Harb was ridden as if something was amiss with saddling or other equipment on opening day – when taken wide and virtually pulled up on opening day. He had been traveling quite smoothly, and the run is a bit of a puzzle. He is good enough to finish in the top three here, but Harb has not won a race since 2002.




3 Montgomery’s Arch


A: 3 to beat 2
B: 2 to beat 3
B: 3 to beat 1, 7, 11

Race 5 Aquarius Cup Hcap (Gulf News) 1400 m / 7 fur dirt

Safsoof is taking a big drop in class after finishing fourth to the mighty sprinter Heart Alone in the Al Shindagha Sprint (G3) over 6 furlongs (straight). Safsoof was outpaced early and stayed on well to be nearest at the finish. He was being raced exclusively over 7 furlongs in England last year – when he won a decent handicap at Newbury. He began this campaign of Handicap 90 but, although he performed to GF 96 behind Heart Alone, he has not been raised in the weights by the UAE handicapper. He is experienced and battle hardened, something that counts a lot in a big sprint field like this. He must have a good winning chance.

Rock Music does not have as much experience – coming off a nice win in a small field, but he is an improving sort. He won with something in hand when making his seasonal debut and he could go in again off a higher handicap mark. Always traveling the better, he asserted in the closing stages to beat Little Jim by 2 ¾ lengths over a mile on February 2. Dropping down in distance is not going to inconvenience either, and a repeat exacta is quite possible. Little Jim was running a very game race in defeat, and was 6 ½ lengths better than the third placed Curule.

The wide post is a negative for Rock Music but the positive factor is that Godolphin’s runner is the one most likely to show marked improvement in this field.




16 Safsoof


A: 7 and 16 boxed / combined
B: 7, 16 with 1


A: 7, 16 with 7, 16 with All 14
B: 7, 16 with All 14 with 7, 16

Race 6 Friday Stakes Hcap (Gulf News) 1600 m / 1 mile Turf

Terra Verde performed to GF 109+ in France as a 3-year-old and, as he is lower in the handicap here and quite likely to improve this season, he becomes our selection. Though this race is tricky – not at all inviting for serious betting. Terra Verde, trained by Andre Fabre last year, was racing prominently when beating Mathematician by a comfortable length over 1600 metres at Chantilly in September. Mathematician had been third to Turtle Bowl in a G1 on his previous start, and he went on to fill the same place behind Special Kaldoun in a G2 at the Prix de l’Arc meeting. Terra Verde’s Chantilly form looks quite solid, though he failed to follow up when trying 2000 metres (and soft ground) in the Prix Dollar (G2) a month later. He appeared not to stay the distance.

Spirit of France was beaten only a nose by Pentecost over this course and distance two weeks ago, and Christian Wroe’s contender will probably be popular in the betting. But beware, his strong tail-swishing when he came under attack close home does not augur at all well. He did not look genuine, he had a hard race, and he could be in for a ‘bounce’ this time.

Jalamid, admittedly only tenth in the same race, is an interesting longshot. He finished 5 ¼ lengths behind Spirit of France, though his run was definitely a case of ‘never at the races’. Jalamid was held up last (and pulling) in the slowly-run affair, then given a daring route on the inside, where he never seemed happy. He ended up getting a very easy race, however, and do not be surprised to see him in the first three this time. He ran two good races (winning one) in handicaps over a mile at Redcar last year. Update: Jalamid is a non-runner

Blue on Blues ran a game second to Sabirli on his turf debut last week and, unless the race has left its mark, he can go close again.


B: 4 JALAMID scratched


1 Terra Verde

EW / Win & Show: 4 Jalamid


A: 1 with 4, 5
B: 4, 5 with 1

Race 8 Property Weekly Cup Hcap (Gulf News) 2400 m / 12 fur Turf

The last two races on the day are definitely events to bet with minimum stakes, as they are very open but two horses make appeal in this 2400 test; Corriolanus, who ran a good second to Land n’ Stars last week (first run since June) and the lightly raced Remaadd, who was a respectable fourth to Ecinas in January. Both horses are proven over today’s distance. Other than taking a shot at this duo, we will be more interested in watching this heat for future clues, than in going in with a betting plan.




EW / Win & Show:
5 Remaadd


Race 9 Wheels Trophy Hcap (Gulf News) 1600 m / 1 mile Turf

Excellento has run better than his odds would suggest in his last two starts, and also made progress. He was 40-1 when tenth, 7 lengths behind Iqte Saab on opening day, and 33-1 when finishing an eye-catching sixth behind Pentecost two weeks ago. That was a slowly run race and Excellento did really well to finish 4 lengths behind the winner, as he was coming from off the pace and also suffered trouble in running. He is our sporting choice in this wide open finale to the day.

Jeremy Noseda has the 4-year-old filly One To Win - a lightly raced runner open to improvement. She was racing over further in England last year but ran prominently when winning twice over 10 furlongs at Windsor and she may be just as good over a mile. She was also a respectable fifth to La Persiane in a Listed race at Yarmouth (where she was held up).

Berlioz, now with McEvoy on board, made a promising start to the season when fifth behind King Jock on opening day. Horses from India have not made too much of an impact but this 5-year-old looks to be on a winning handicap mark.

Persian Majesty, a Listed class performer in England, has a nice handicap mark but a mile may be too short for him. He ran well when third to Sabre d’Argent and fourth to Songlark over 10 and 12 furlongs in June last year.




7 Excellento


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