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UAE 1,000 Guineas: Godolphin hold the aces
by Geir Stabell ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2009-02-12 05:03:48 (First published: 2009-02-06 04:51:29 )

Nad Al Sheba: With two lightly raced and highly talented fillies from the in-form Godolphin team in the field, the others may be happy to pick up smaller shares of the $250,000 purse in the UAE 1,000 Guineas (LR).

This Friday feature could easily be dominated by Noth American import Devotee, who was third in a Grade One last year, and South American import Sos Brilliante, a winner already at this Carnival.

DEVOTEE, a daughter of Elusive Quality, ran twice in the US last year, winning a Saratoga maiden by 2 ½ lengths from Amanwella and finishing third to Dream Empress in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) over 8.5 furlongs at Keeneland. Devotee was 7 ½ lengths behind Dream Empress that day, so the gap up to the very best is there for all to see, but Dream Empress ran second to Stardom Bound in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) next time out and these formlines are interesting. If Devotee makes normal progress this year she could be capable of winning at the top level. So could her stablemate Sos Brilliante also be, however, and she has the advantage of a previous run over this track.

SOS BRILLIANTE opened her season in a perfect way when she outstayed the odds-on favourite INDIA TIBERINA for a good win in the 7-furlong Nayef Fillies 1400 Conditions Stakes three weeks ago. These two were well clear and Sos Brilliante showed more stamina than the runner-up, who had become fractious before the race. They meet again in the Guineas, when the distance is 200 metres further, and I see no reason why the form should be turned around.

A daughter of Dance Brightly, Sos Brilliante was bred in Chile. She won her only start in 2008 by nearly twelve lengths, in a sharp time over 6 furlongs, and is clearly a smart performer. An attractive filly with plenty of scope, she may well improve significantly again and be on her way to becoming a top class performer. Stretching out to a mile will not be a problem for Sos Brilliante.

Mike de Kock’s RUSSIAN SAGE looks a goodf bet in the Mayfair Handicap over a mile on turf (race 7). These South African Group performers have been let in too lightly by the UAE handicapper, and Russian Sage is coming out of the Durban July Stakes (G1), like previous Carnival winners Silver Mist and Strategic News. He was seventh in the Durban July, but beaten only 3 ½ lengths, and this smart son of Jallad had previously landed the Cape Derby (G1) and Daily News Stakes (G1), both over 1 ¼ miles. Today’s mile trip should not be a problem. Russian Sage ran close to his best when second on this distance in the Cape Guineas (G1) just over a year ago. He is an incredibly game and consistent performer with a 43% strike rate, and sure to have bigger tasks at Nad Al Sheba in his sight soon. He’ll he tough to beat.

A possible each-way / win & show bet in the same race is the ex-Godolphin runner EMIRATES SKYLINE, now trained by Abdulla bin Huzaim and regularly ridden by former UAE champion Willie Supple. I do not like backing horses coming back after just six days rest at this meeting but there are a few plus points about Emirates Skyline. He was well beaten behind Silver Mist (G3 winner since) on opening day, and moved forward by leaps and bounds when fourth to Strategic News over this course and distance last week. Emirates Skyline landed the Rose Bowl Stakes over 1 ¼ miles at Epsom last year and he is probably best over that trip. Still, keep an eye on him. He is fairly treated by the weights and could be a massive price. Win, lose or draw, I will have his name in the notebook for future events.

David Elsworth is in Dubai with a couple of horses, and his seven-year-old gelding NOTA BENE is worth a second glance in the 6-furlong Oxford Handicap (race 2). Set to be ridden by young William Buick, Nota Bene will be making his first start since last July, when he was fifth in what was one of the best sprints staged at Great Leighs in 2008. He finished just 2 ¾ lengths behind the winner Ceremoneal Jade, who went on to beat ASSET in the autumn. Nota Bene had won at Great Leighs previously, and he did so after a long layoff. I have followed this horse since his younger days and he runs well fresh.

BLACK MAMBOZO is another to note in the same race. This Italian bred sprinter was no more than 5 ½ lengths behind Marchand d’Or in the Prix de l’Abbaye (G1) last October, then got slammed 10 lengths when second to the ‘freak’ sprinter Overdose in a Group 3 in Italy. Some say Marchand d’Or is better than Overdose, something I doubt very, very much, but never mind, we will get to that later on, as Overdose will be coming to England this summer. Black Mambozo is a versatile sprinter. As effective over five as he is over six furlongs, he can be up with the pace or come from behind. Not well-known outside Italy, he may represent value here.

KINGS GAMBIT, winner of last year’s South African Derby (12 furlongs) makes his seasonal debut, and his first start for eight months, in race 4, the 9-furlong Park Lane Trophy Handicap. He also won the South African Classic (G1) over this distance, so perhaps the trip will not prove to be on the sharp side. If it is, or if he is badly in need of the run, Herman Brown’s runner may be struggling to live with the in-form Godolphin runner ALEXANDROS, who won with a bit in hand here two weeks back, and / or the North American import SUMMER DOLDRUMS, making his first start for Doug Watson. This five-year-old son of Street Cry was quite consistent in the US, where he was competitive with some of the best three-year-olds on turf in 2007, and managed a stakes win in 2008. He has raced mainly over a mile but Summer Doldrums stays nine furlongs, and his handicap mark (105) is not too high.

VERACITY, who ended 2008 as one of the most promising young stayers in Europe, and the old warrior YOUNG MICK both make appeal in race 5. This is the Concourse 2750 Handicap, staged over 1 ¾ miles on turf and quite different to the sprints earlier on the card. Vesity, winner of the Jockey Club Cup (G3) at Newemarket and runner-up to Yeats in the Prix Royal-Oak (G1) at Longchamp last autumn, is the obvious favourite. He may heve to pull out all the stops though, if Young Mick runs up to his best. He shaped really well when second to Age of Reason over 1 ½ miles over this turf course last week, and George Margarson’s stayer is so tough and game. He could well step right up this time. This race has been said to be his main target at the Carnival, and he is set to receive 12lb from Veracity, who may not be fully tuned up. Saeed bin Suroor will be hoping for a good Cup campaign in England this summer with this horse and today’s race is just a starting point to a new season.

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