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UAE Oaks day: Discreet Cat in seasonal debut
by Geir Stabell ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2007-02-19 09:35:04 (First published: 2006-03-08 06:13:05 )

Nad Al Sheba 9 March: The UAE Oaks (LR) is the feature race on the last day before Dubai World Cup night but the 9-furlong Classic has drawn a moderate field.

Godolphin’s 3-year-old colt Discreet Cat will get a lot more attention, than another clash between Herman Brown’s Imperial Ice and Alec Laird’s Rock Opera in the Oaks. They finished second and third to the impressive Vague in the UAE 1000 Guineas (LR) and they should dominate this time.

So should the possible Derby contender Discreet Cat, who will be facing six rivals as he makes his seasonal debut in the Areej Trophy. The son of Forestry, very much a sire in the news lately, begins his 3yo campaign over a mile. He was a speedy 6-furlong winner at Saratoga last year and one question must be; how far will this guy stay?

Race 2 - THE BVLGARI RACE - 1300 m / 6.5 furlongs Turf

Montgomery’s Arch won at 9-1 for us on his lats outing, and he may prove good ebough to win again – though he has gone up to HC 108 now and this will be harder. Still, he impressed last time, as he came with a strong run form well off the pace. He will be very much at home over this added distance.

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 – who has got him back on track.

If the pace scenario set the race up well for Montgomery’s Arch, it will also set up well for Suggestive - who is taking a drop in distance after running a respectable second to Caeasar Beware over 7.5 furlongs here last month. He raced up with the pace when finishing second to Council Member in a Listed race over 7 furlongs in England last year, and he has the class to make an impact here.

Cartography made a good come-back to beat the consistent Bahiano by a head last month. It was his first run for five months and, though we do have the dreaded ‘bounce factor’ to worry about, he is a horse to consider. The selection apart, this race is quite open though, and most of the money invested should go on a straight win bet on Montgomery’s Arch.




1 Montgomery’s Arch

2 EXACTAS: 1 with 4, 8


A: 1 with 4, 8 with 4, 8
B: 1 with 4, 8 with All
C: 1 with All with 4, 8

Race 3 - THE AREEJ TROPHY - 1600 m / 1 mile dirt

Discreet Cat, a half-brother to Pretty Wild, joined Godolphin from Stanley Hough last year – when he ran once and won a maiden in impressive style at Saratoga. Tackling 6 furlongs, Discreet Cat showed early speed and was soon in command. He came home 3 ½ lengths in front of Superfly, who was 11 lengths clear of the third placed Ivanovsky. Superfly, who had made one previous start (third), went on to win the non-graded Whirling Ash at Delaware Park at odds-on, before finishing third in the Champagne Stakes (G1), beaten 12 lengths behind First Samurai – and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), beaten 8 ½ lengths behind Stevie Wonderboy. Discreet Cat earned a provisional Globeform 102+ at Saratoga and he should have no problems with these rivals.

His half-brother Pretty Wild (by Wild Again) is racing for the same connections. He was a smart juvenile, running second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and Futurity Stakes (G1) and fourth in the Champagne Stakes (G1). Floowing surgery to remove a bone chip, Pretty Wild, was on the sidelines from November ’02 to August ’03, when he returned with an easy allowance win at Saratoga. The following month, he finished third to During in the Jerome Hcap (G2) at Belmont Park. Last year, Pretty Wild won two non-graded stakes at Monmouth Park, over 6 furlongs and a mile.

Is this a Derby horse? Too soon to say but on breeding, Discreet Cat is not a typical contender for 1 ¼ miles at Churchill Downs in early May. His sire Forestry stayed well enough to land the Dwyer Stakes (G2) over 1 1/16 miles, and finish third to Menifee in the Haskell Invitational (G1) over 1 1/8 miles, though his best performance came when he beat Five Star Day when conceding 10lbs in the King’s Bishop (G1) over 7 furlongs at Saratoga. His most talented runners to date have been Smokey Glacken and Forest Danger (both sprinters).

Nomoretaxes beat Sand Cat nicely in February but was stone last behind Simpatico Bribon in the Al Bastikiya last week.

Dynamic Saint, a once raced son of Sweetsouthernsaint, makes more appeal for the exacta bet. This colt recovered from a slow start to beat Getbuzzing by 8 ½ lengths in a maiden race over 7 furlongs at Jebel Ali in February. The runner-up performed badly next time out but Dynamic Storm was simply different class – he is good enough to beat most of these.




4 with 5

Race 4 THE AZAL CUP 2000 m / 10 furlongs dirt

Setembro Chove is the one to go for here. This Brazilian has been running into form through three starts at the Carnival and he was second to Marbush over a mile in February. The winner went on to slam a solid field in the Burj Nahaar (G3) on Super Thursday – giving the form a massive boost.

The son of Fast Gold is on a really nice handicap mark (100) and he the one we must bet on the day. The chance you take is the distance, as his form has been over shorter – but he is shaping like horse that will get 1 ¼ miles. He broke slowly, and finished well from the back last time. Last year, he won the Grande Premio Presidente da Republica (G1) over a mile, and was also a G3 winner over the same distance. Normally, such form is worth GF 110 and he must have a big chance here.

Eccentric and Parasol both ran behind Electrocutionist in the Maktoum Challenge III (G2) last week, finishing fourth and tenth respectively. Both had a hard race and, though Parasol remains well handicapped, it is easy to go against them both here. Parasol has run three good races on the trot now and a bounce must soon come. Also, he is not one to trust.

Eccentric faded tamely in the Maktoum Challenge III (G2), after running up with the pace early. He ran way below form and it was disappointing – given his fine UAE debut behind Jack Sullivan in the Maktoum Challenge II (G3). Eccentric was a solid GF 110-performer on dirt and turf in England last year, when winning three big good races over 1 ¼ miles; a valuable handicap at Epsom’s Derby meeting, the Winter Derby (LR) at Lingfield and the Winter Hill Stakes (G3) at Windsor. He has a fair bit of mileage on the clock now, however, and perhaps his best this year was always going to come when fresh first time out?

Chinkara won really well when beating Jackson by 4 ¼ lengths over 1 ½ miles last month. He was racing off HC 93 that day and has been raised to HC 102. That is considerably higher than he has ever been but looking at his profile, one might suspect that he is better suited to this distance. He does have a chance to follow up.

Anani is in good form and quite a consistent type, another who could be in the first three.




9 Setembo Chove

WIN DOUBLE: Setembro Chove & Starpix (Race 6)

Race 5 THE LAND ROVER CUP 1600 m / 1 mile Turf

Near Dock is not ‘beautifully handicapped’ but he is coming off a promising run and now racing in a handicap. He ran a good fourth, beaten 4 lengths behind Linngari in the Al Fahidi Fort (G2), runner over this distance. That was clearly his best race for a while and Near Dock was capable of GF 111 last year – a reproduction of that level will make him a winner here.

He was second to 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.

Seihali is also taking a drop in class – after two excellent runs against Group horses. He had a tough weight when going doen to Tyson first time out and followed up with a fine third, 3 lengths behind Touch Of Land, in the Jebel Hatta (G2) on Super Thursday. He has had just a week to recover from that outing but he did not get a particularly hard race. There is a good chance of a repeat performance.

Stetchworth Prince came back to form with a battling win over Proudance at this course and distance in February. The Godolphin runner had never tried a mile prior to that success and the trip seemed to suit him well. He is still on a lenient handicap mark and must be included in any trifecta plans.




5 Near Dock


A: 5 with 1, 10
B: 1, 10 with 5

Race 6 THE MASERATI TROPHY 2000 m / 1 ¼ miles Turf

At last… Starpix gets a chance over a distance that suits him. Quite why his connections have made him run three times in sprints is a mystery in this office – but; unless he has ‘gone sour’ he should go close in this contest. The good news is that he has been dropped in the handicap, and he will be very tough to beat if he runs up to his best French form.

The Linamix colt produced good sprinting form in France in 2004 but he improved when stepped up to a mile last year, finishing a good second behind Turtle Bowl in the Prix Jean Prat (G1) at Chantilly. He came from off the pace, and was running on gamely at the finish. He had Rocamadour, Home Affairs and Ad Valorem behind him at Chantilly, giving the form a solid look. Running over 1 ¼ miles is unlikely to be a problem, though he has yet to try this trip.

With so many of the others at or close to their top handicap marks – and most seeming fully exposed – Starpix becomes our second must bet of the day.

Evil Knievel, who won over 9 furlongs here last month, may have more to offer. He came from off the pace when beating Prince Charmant by a neck, indicating that today’s distance will be even better for him. 1 /4 miles is also the trip he tackled in his finest race at home.

His biggest win in Brazil is hard to assess, but it was probably every bit as good as his win here at Nad Al Sheba. He landed the Grande Premio Francisco Eduardo de Paula Machado (G1) over 1 ¼ miles 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.

Hattan is a longshot worth considering. He is making his seasonal debut but has been ready to run for a couple of weeks now, and this Clive Brittain trainee has stromg form in the book in England. He was beaten in the final strides when second to Eccentric in the Winter Hill Stakes (G3) over 1 ¼ miles at Windsor, and he had previously won the Chester Vase (G3) over 1 ½ miles at Chester (a sharp left-handed track). Hattan is just the type to improve with age, and that is also how he is bred – being a son of Halling out of a half-sister to top older performers Warrsan, Luso and Needle Gun.




8 Starpix


A: 8 with 1
B: 8 with 7


A: 8 with 1, 7 with 1, 7
B: 8 with 1, 7 with All
C: 8 with All with 1, 7

Race 7 AL TAYER GROUP UAE OAKS 1800 m / 9 furlongs dirt

A disappointing Oaks field but at least two names stand out well enough for us to go for a two-line exacta plan.

Imperial Ice stayed on strongly in the UAE 1000 Guineas (LR), where she got up to beat Rock Opera by a neck for second spot. They were simply trounced by the winner Vague – though she would be 1/10 in the betting if she had run in this Oaks. Imperial Ice has had four races at this Carnival and she has improved with every run. She was ninth of ten behind Clinet on opening day, then seventh to Vague a week later, before running sixth to Clinet in the Cape Verdi and second in the 1000 Guineas.

Rock Opera was third in Clinet’s race on opening day – over 1 mile – so she has finished in front of Imperial Ice once but the latter makes much more appeal over 9 furlongs. She is more of a staying type than Rock Opera, who ran below form when tried over 6.5 furlongs last time out (running a race to forget, she was last to Catrography).

Give Me The Night was fourth in the Guineas and she has a chance of going one place better here – though the gap up to the top two seems impossible to close.




1 Imperial Ice


A: 1 with 6
B: 6 with 1


A: 1 with 6 with 9
B: 6 with 1 with 9

Race 8 FERRARI CHALLENGE 2400 metres / 1 ½ miles Turf

This is not so easy… and any betting in this heat must be with minimum stakes.

Encinas may be the best alternative, as he has put up two solid performances and is coming off a good fourth behind Oracle West, Alayan and Falstaff in the Dubai City of Gold (G3) – run over this distance on Super Thursday. Encinas had previously won a handicap, and finished third to Land n’ Stars. The latter is meeting Encinas on the same weight terms here but Encinas seems to be improving and he can gain revenge.

Jersey Bounce is also in with a good chance, having won by 4 lengths over this distance last time out. He raced up with the pace and drew off for an easy win over One Little David, with Grand Ekinoks third, Land n’ Stars fifth - and Velodrome and Mutasalil further back. It is hard to see how any of them should revesre the form. But Grand Ekinoks is 8lbs better off at the weights and he could move forward this time.

Elmustanser will be popular in the betting – having finished third behind Electrocutionist in the Maktoum Challenge III (G2) on dirt last week. That was improvement on his fifth (to Jack Sullivan) in the Maktoum Challenge II (G3) but he also had a hard race on Super Thursday and he is not one to take a short price about here.

Morshdi is interesting if you are looking for an each-way bet at a good price. He has run respectable races in defeat over a mile and ten furlongs recently and stepping up in distance will be very much to his liking.




1 Encinas

EW / Win & Show: 11 Morshdi


A: 1 and 7 boxed / reversed
B: 1, 7 with 2, 11

Race 9 THE LORO PIANA RACE 1600 metres / 1 mile Turf

A classy finale and a race that might set the winner up for a crack at the Dubai Duty Free (G1) on World Cup night.

Proudance, a relatively lightly raced 4-year-old, catches the eye. The German trained runner was a game second to Stetchworth Prince (runs in race 5 today) over this course and distance two weeks ago, and he is a possible improver. Proudance has won 4 of his 10 lifetime starts and been second 3 times. He was a Group 3 winner over a mile at Cologne last August – and he has also run fourth in a compettive Group 2 in France (where he was 6 lengths beaten behind Special Kaldoun).

Billy Allen may find a mile a bit too sharp, but take a look at his handicap mark. He is racing off just 100 this time, some 10lbs (about 5 lengths) below his lifetime best. He was showing signs of a return to form when fourth to Evil Knievel (runs race 6) two weeks ago. Give Billy Allen a strong pace to close into, and he can hit the board here. Do not dismiss him based on this drop in distance. He showed good tactical speed and determination when beating Santiago Matias by a nose over 8.5 furlongs at Jagersro (a sharp track) in Sweden last spring.

Caesar Beware, who was so good on his comeback, disappointed when only seventh behind Linngari in the Al Fahidi Fort (G2). We should not forget that this horse, talented as he is, has had his problems, but the second run could simply have been a case of a ‘mental bounce’ after his big run on February 2. Perhaps we should give him another chance. He win was one of the visually most impressive runs at the Carnival.

Racing over 7.5 furlongs, Caesar Beware beat Suggestive (runs race 2) by 3 ¾ lengths. One may argue that the race set up perfectly for his running style, but do not forget two other factors; he had plenty left in the tank passing the line, and he also looked like he would be even better over further.




EW / Win & Show:
5 Proudance


A: 1, 5 and 11 boxed / combined


A: 1, 5 and 11 boxed / combined (6)
B: 1, 5, 11 with 1, 5, 11 with 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 (30)
C: 1, 5, 11 with 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 with 1, 5, 11 (30)

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